A lot of us have a profile. In fact, probably all of us. I have two, and I have two for a reason. I have a very closed social profile and a fairly open professional profile. In reality, I doubt that one is meant to be social and closed off means anything. If it is online; it is public.
My personal social account only has friends and close colleagues. I am still cautious on what I post, as I am a registered professional in a very public role. I generally use this to watch pages that I find of interest on my news feed, or keep an eye on what is going on with my friends and in my local area. For this I use Facebook. This works for me and I can use the privacy settings so that I receive no unsolicited requests, no one can view my profile or pictures, and I am very strict with my information sharing. I do allow ‘friends of friends’ to send a friend request. This has meant a few students have tried, and failed, due tot hem working with old colleagues who are still (virtual and actual) friends.
My professional accounts I run very differently. Anyone can view them (they are even linked here in my contact pages) and anyone can follow me. I post and re-post only professionally related items, and am constantly aware of how I want to be seen in the professional world of both paramedics and academics. I do have the odd page that I follow that might not be the most professional, but I do not share their posts I only look at them. I use LinkedIn and Twitter for this, I find these most suitable to this role of a professional account.
My Instagram account is a mix of the two. I post personal pictures, but these are still heavily considered and mainly revolve around sports or anything that will be of common interest and won’t cause a change in my perception. I thin post professional pictures that again won’t affect the perception of me personally. And definitely nothing that will cause unrest or provocation.
This does seem fairly simple when you split it like this, but I have found it very easy to go wrong. Sharing the wrong post to the wrong account can change the appearance. I also manage social media accounts on multiple platforms, so ensuring I am in the correct account on phone apps is paramount. It wouldn’t be the first time I have to hurriedly delete something; or see that a colleague has shared the recent synchronised swimming results to the academic teams Facebook page (I am still not sure if that was an error).
But, please don’t forget, there are people like me where part of their job is to check that you don’t post anything that puts the reputation of my team or profession in any sort of disrepute. I may not have TikTok or Reddit accounts, but I still have saved searches that I check regularly. I may not be a member of Social Media pages, but if they are public I still check them too. This is not to catch you out, but to protect your reputation and the reputation of those you are affiliated with by association. This can either be you (current or intended) profession, as a student, your institution or the content of your comments.
Just remember to stay safe, and no mater how private you think your online activity is; it isn’t.