Using Social Media Positively

06/23/2013 12:40 pm ET | Updated Aug 23, 2013

Social media is so prevalent in our society that almost everyone is connected to some form of it; whether it be Twitter, Facebook or even Pinterest. We are a fast-paced, technologically evolving society and we are addicted to social media. In fact, we crave social media.

We post almost every aspect of our life on social media. We share what we're doing, how amazing we did on a test and our random personal musings. Simply speaking, we love people knowing what we're doing. Since we put so much information in one easily accessed spot, doesn't this become a place that can define us? Absolutely.

Our social networks can tell a story about us and, if you're like me, you want to make sure that the story your Twitter or Facebook tells about you is a good story. One's online reputation couldn't be more important. For example, the first thing a hiring manager is going to do when they receive your application is Google your name. With a few clicks, your Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and an array of other information about you is at their fingertips.

So how does one ensure a positive online reputation? It's simple:
1. Keep it Clean: Be entirely sure about what you're posting. Party photos with alcohol are an absolute no-no. Would you want to have your boss see these photos? Make sure to post content that you feel positively reflects you, your creativity and your skills.

2. Don't Trust Privacy Settings: You have a private Twitter account so you can post anything you want? This is decidedly not the case. Privacy settings make it harder to see your full account, but it's not impossible. Under no circumstances should you rely on privacy settings as a way to protect inappropriate content.

3. Ensure You're Polished: Keep it classy! Discover your brand, or what you want people to think of you. Proper spelling and grammar is always a plus, but it may not be your brand. Think about what you want people to think of you and go with it.

Follow these few simple rules and you're well on your way to building, or restoring, an online reputation. Using social media positively doesn't mean you can't have fun and use it to express yourself; however, you want to ensure that everything you post you're OK with anyone seeing. Once you click post, there's no looking back!

Like it or not, your social networks reflect you -- make sure you look like the shining star that you truly are.

Do you try to use social media to positively reflect you? Or do you just let it be a creative outlet with no restrictions? Tweet me: @PatrickMott.