Is Your Writing Wronging Your Internet Presence?

Have a Facebook and/or LinkedIn page?  Do you tweet?  Ever posted a paper or article, or an Instagram caption? The Internet allows us to convey important (and not so important) information with increasing speed. 

Unfortunately, our growing addiction for such instant gratification is playing havoc with the quality of our writing.  And, every one of those key clicks you make adds another descriptor to your Internet presence. 

Factor in the lack of attention to the quality of your written message (poor taste, typos, inaccuracies and “Did he/she really write that?” entries), and you may be derailing your professional image, potential client acquisition or future promotion.  

To make sure you are creating a more attractive digital self:

  • Start with awareness.  Poor communication skills – the inability to express yourself clearly and correctly – can wreck havoc on your Internet presence.  Remember, you are creating a very detailed view of your life.  Make sure the computer “captures your best side.”
  • Slow down.  Rather than the mental drive for speed, slow down as you approach the keypad.  Yes, you are in a hurry, but taking those extra few minutes to generate your posting or message could forestall a lot of damage.
  • Assess that message, photo, posting before adding it to your profile.  Compare the tone and style against the image you want to convey.
  • Organize your message.  Even the shortest posting, even an email, can foster misunderstandings that waste time and money.
  • Reread.  A typo here, a misspelling there.  Do they really affect my credibility?  Yes, yes, yes.  It generates distrust in potential clients, signals an inability to attend to details to a potential project leader, and shows a disregard for quality to a potential boss.  Relying on spell check?  Remember, it doesn’t know context.

 More and more, your future clients/bosses/friends are evaluating your online presence by the quality of your writing. 

  • According to a 2020 survey, 90% of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process, and about 43% of employers use social media to check on current employees.
  • Over 60% of executive recruiters at a leading CEO search firm Googled a candidate before reaching out to them, and one-third of employers have passed on a candidate because of some negative postings.
  • There is a budding industry of social media background check companies, who report on your social media activity up to seven years after it happened. (Just think about that posting you made on a friend’s Facebook page seven years ago.)

Slow down, pay attention and write effectively.  It could make a difference in your professional life now and in the future.

For more clues on improving your business writing skills, click here to purchase the Better Business Writing workbook.


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