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5 New Year's Resolutions for Personal Social Networking
By: Christine Geraci
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Only four days remain in 2011. If you use social media personally, professionally, or both, consider changing the way you approach it in the new year. Your friends and colleagues just may thank you for it.
Quit treating social media like it's a fad. If you work in a place that sets up firewalls to block social networking sites, it's time to begin advocating for that to change. Your organization is missing out on a golden opportunity to gain more exposure, learn more about what others are saying about it, and engage productively with current and potential customers. Help your boss think beyond the tools to give the concept of social media a chance. It can't hurt to ask for a meeting. 
Quit complaining about work on Facebook. Sure, it's tempting, but is it worth risking your job over? If you must, for heaven's sake don't go into detail or refer to anyone by name. It doesn't matter if you're not friends with your boss. You never know who's seeing your posts and subsequently taking screen shots. The colleagues you have friended on Facebook may be awesome, but they will duly note your decision to put them in an awkward and crappy situation every time you post negative rants about your workplace. And if forced to choose between you and their jobs, guess who's getting the shaft?
Bring down the curtain on the "me" show. Cryptic updates that lack detail are not smart or interesting. They are desperate cries for attention, and eventually your friends will ignore them altogether. Further, updates that relentlessly demand that your friends to visit, buy, or like something of yours will do little more than get you hidden from news feeds. Self-promotion has its place — in moderation. Ask yourself if you'd behave the same way at a party in front of actual people. 
Be interesting. Share cool stuff. Promote people who interest you. Share informative pieces of media that helped you, made you laugh, made you think. Others will appreciate it. They'll also appreciate the fact that you're sharing something other than what you had for lunch or what you think about American Idol. 
S**t or get off the pot. Take inventory of your social presence. Which social networks do you belong to? Are you active on them? If not, get rid of those accounts. If you're in a situation where it's important for you to "claim" your name on various social presences, make your accounts as innocuous as possible — no pictures, no updates, no extensive contact information. Be honest with yourself about whether or not you'll ever actually use a social network. Then either use it regularly or stop pretending you'll get to it eventually.
What other social networking resolutions would you add? 

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About the Author
Christine Geraci is the Social Media/Promotions Specialist at MVP Health Care in Schenectady, NY. Connect with her on Twitter @christinegeraci.
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