Embracing the Online Universe: To Share or Not to Share?

Liz Williams

Life sometimes throws us opportunities that we’re not quite sure we’re ready for. In these moments, taking a big breath and tapping into a growth mindset can help us gain the right perspective to tackle new tasks. That, or a timely ‘lunch and learn’ from an amazing colleague on the value of building your brand on ‘LinkedIn’.

As I sat down to contemplate what my very first blog would talk about, it felt necessary to address the rather large elephant sitting in the corner. For nearly seven years now, I have intentionally shared very little of myself with the vastness of the online universe.

I could easily put this down to reading too many books like ‘Stolen Focus’ by Johann Hari, listening to too many mindfulness podcasts, or hearing myself preach on repeat about the value of switching off to my kids. Although all valid reasons, they would not fully encapsulate the level of privacy that I have felt the need to operate under in recent years.

For me, the online world feels like opening a door to your house and not being able to control who walks in. Which, for many reasons, has felt scary, uncomfortable, and just plain unnecessary.

For some people, updating their online profile is a weekly (or even daily) habit. A chance to give a shout out to a local coffee shop’s soy latte or an amazing smashed ‘avo’. Offload the trauma of terrible service at fast-food chains, or boast about how well their cats chase robot vacuums (and let’s face it there are some talented cats out there, so I get it).

Cue the big band crescendo – here comes the ‘uh ah’ moment.

While my talented colleague navigated effortlessly around LinkedIn’s full functionality and talked to all thing’s algorithms and SEO, I realized I have been missing a big opportunity, that links to two things that I hold very dear – a sense of connection/networking and learning/knowledge sharing.

Today marks a big day for me, as I step back into the world of online sharing. So, what should we be considering, as we throw the front door open and let the online world in?

Benefits for Work:

Connection: Online sharing fosters professional communities, transcending geographical barriers and offering support.

Networking: Platforms like LinkedIn offer opportunities to connect with peers and potential employers, enhancing professional relationships.

Brand Building: Sharing insights and achievements can boost professional reputation and visibility.

Collaboration: Online sharing facilitates remote learning and communication, fostering collaboration across distances.

Risks in the Workplace:

Confidentiality: Over-sharing sensitive information online can lead to breaches of confidentiality agreements and intellectual property rights.

Reputation: Careless posts or comments can damage one’s professional reputation and hinder career advancement.

Cybersecurity: Sharing personal or work-related information increases the risk of cyberattacks and data breaches.

Maintaining Balance:

Strategic Sharing: Prioritize sharing content that aligns with professional goals and values, maintaining a balance between personal and professional content.

Privacy Settings: Utilize privacy settings to control access to professional profiles and limit visibility of sensitive information.

Professional Boundaries: Establish clear boundaries between work and personal life online, refraining from sharing confidential or sensitive information.

Continuous Learning: Stay informed about best practices and legal regulations governing online sharing in the workplace.

Digital Wellness: Balance online activities with offline pursuits to prioritize mental health and well-being.

For Employers: How to Support Social Media Usage:

Review your ‘Social Media Policy’ regularly and ensure that you share it with your staff on a frequent basis. Policies should be readily available and known to staff, not tucked away in a drawer until an issue brings them to the desk.

Recent decisions in Fair Work have highlighted not only the need for ongoing employee training in Policies but also the value of measuring and capturing employee understanding of Policies, in being able to hold Employees to account against them.

On reflection, this process has highlighted more than just the value of online sharing, it has emphasised the growth and opportunity that stems from stepping out of one’s comfort zone, while supported by your business environment.

Get your ‘lunch and learns’ scheduled!

About The Author
Liz Williams

We welcome Liz’s  passion and understanding of HR functions, providing the best business outcomes through employing, mentoring and retaining a resilient workforce.

Liz has worked on major projects for NBN and the Victorian Government, her knowledge and professional approach will complement our already well established and highly regarded HR Team.

Outside of work Liz is a keen netballer and the busy mum of three boys!

For more useful information, follow Liz Williams on LinkedIn.

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