Oh, Facebook… Once upon a time, our favorite social-networking website was all about keeping up with out-of-state cousins and spying on people you wanted to date. Sometime in the last couple years, however, shameless self-promoters (such as myself) have turned the once colloquial community into a din of desperation.

But, so what? People can use Facebook however they want, right? Who am I to judge?

Here’s the problem:

Talent and reputation takes years to develop. Those that have invested the time and effort to establish such traits can rest on their laurels. They have no need for clever ploys to get ahead, and they’ve learned to mind their manners online.

So, when the rest of us plebes fall back on photoshoped profile pics and bad habits, it practically screams “I’m a noob and I have no idea what I’m doing.” If you’re struggling to get noticed on Facebook, or perhaps just starting out, here are five common pitfalls to avoid:

1. You shoehorned your business and/or talent into your name.

Ask yourself this: when the next summer blockbuster hits the big screen, will you see any of the following in the credits:

  • Stephen DirectorExtraordinaire Spielberg
  • J.J. BadRobotCEO Abrams
  • Julia JackHammer Robertz

The answer is ‘no.’

Shoehorning your business or talent into your name may seem like free advertising, but nobody’s impressed. Since the pros don’t do it, it will only advertise your total lack of reputation and credibility.

Take the time to develop lasting business relationships. Be faithful in your commitments; do what you say you’re going to do. Finish ahead of schedule and under budget. Your name will soon become be all you need to succede.

2. Your profile picture has been airbrushed into oblivion.

When did the Silly Putty look come into fashion? If you look like Odo, the shape-shifting alien from Deep Space 9, maybe it’s time to switch photographers.

Think about it, actors. You’re trying to impress technology-savvy people with that headshot. Do you honestly think we won’t notice that your photo has been edited? We can spot that stuff a mile away. When we see it, we start wondering what you’re hiding.

I don’t mind you painting out the occasional pimple or odd shadow, but show me a headshot where your face looks like it’s been dipped in molten lava and I’ll show you the door.

3. You talk trash about other people.

The quickest way to damage your reputation is to attack somebody else’s.

If you can’t resolve differences privately, why would I risk working with you? How do I know you won’t bad-mouth me? If you’re already in the habit of trash-talking, you probably will.

4. You air your dirty laundry in public.

Three words: lack of boundaries. We all need to vent and give voice to our emotions, but overly personal and intimate status updates are off-putting and make you sound emotionally unstable. Even posting your day-to-day gripes can be a tedious read when posted day after day.

Do this enough and potential business contacts will un-friend or block you. Do this a lot and you will forever be branded a drama queen.

Consider grouping your close friends and family into a Facebook List. That way, when you need to vent you can restrict status updates to only those on that list.

5. u type like dis! LoLz!!! ur so dum smh

If it were up to me I’d wear cargo shorts and sandals everywhere, but come meeting time I don a suit and tie. Netspeak is as much about identity as it is economy, but there comes a point in everyone’s life when we have to do some growing up. Leave the lolz in middle school.

You are a capable, intelligent adult. Work hard, grow your talents, and be kind. Shortcuts and immaturity do not become you. Kick ’em to the curb and be the person you were created to be.

Dan Baker

Posts Twitter

Dan works out his social anxieties by producing and directing films. He's a proud New Mexican, and prefers green over red.

Conversations Matter

Find this post interesting? Disagree with us? Use your voice: