Should You Change Your Online Image?

Last Updated Oct 22, 2008 5:07 PM EDT

Let's say you're 25 years old and working your first or second job in PR. And let's say you were a heavy Facebook user in college and still keep an active Facebook account linked to your college days and your college crowd.

The question is this: do you scrub your Facebook account to make yourself more professional, or do you let it all hang out and figure that it's the way of the world?

I know this is a question that young professionals are struggling with. Us older fogeys have other problems in the online world, but having recent pictures online involving beer bongs or suggestive tattoos typically isn't among them.

But for the younger set, it can be a problem. On one hand, you can't deny who you are, and you certainly can't police the Internet to make sure those pictures from the Senior Year bash (you know, those pictures) aren't posted on Flickr or elsewhere. On the other, it's not always going to help your career (to put it mildly) for the world to know about your, ehem, youthful indescretions.

And on the PR side, while some journalists or other influencers might find your personal life amusing, a lot of others might dismiss you out of hand as a lightweight if you pitch them from your college-oriented Facebook account.

I'd be interested in your thoughts.

  • Jon Greer

    Jon Greer has been analyzing media and PR for more than 25 years. He's been a journalist and a PR executive, and has been a featured speaker for many years at the Bulldog Reporter Media Relations Summit, and served as Bulldog's Editorial Director for their PR University series of weekly how-to audio conferences.

    Jon provides PR services including media relations and freelance writing to clients including start-ups, law firms, corporations, investment banks and venture capital firms. In addition, Jon provides spokesperson training. Learn more about Jon's training programs at The Media Bridge.