When and How to Remove Someone From Your Social Media Network

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placeitJust like in the real world, social media friends and contacts can be great sources of inspiration, friendship, support and opportunity.

They can also be annoying, toxic, time-sucking, needy and inappropriate. It’s bad enough when these connections cause problems in your personal life, but when they can have a negative impact on your career or job search, it’s time to take swift action.

So when should you drop the axe on a friend, connection or follower? The simple rule of thumb is when his or her social media activity threatens to affect your ability to get your work done effectively, or poses a threat to your reputation in a current position or your efforts to get a new job.

Monitoring your social media connections is essential considering that the vast majority employers admit that they routinely review social media when screen applicants. A study conducted by Reppler and highlighted by The Undercover Recruiter reported that 91percent of employers use social media to assess candidates during the hiring process, with 79 percent using Facebook, 53 percent checking Twitter, and 48 percent reviewing LinkedIn profiles.

Here are some guidelines for strategically pruning your contacts on three of the most-used social media networks.

Unfriend on Facebook

For those in the job market, Facebook can pose a particularly dangerous threat. The simple reason is that the personal nature of Facebook adds to the potential that comments or photos and videos of you posted by “friends” could present you in an unflattering light. If the poster is a close friend in real life, give them the courtesy of explaining your situation and asking that they refrain from including you on questionable posts. For more casual acquaintances or someone you fear poses considerable risks, take immediate action.

From a technical standpoint, unfriending someone can be done by following these simple steps provided by Facebook.

Letting go on LinkedIn

As more of a button-down professional online network, LinkedIn usually has fewer instances in which it makes sense to nix a contact. Yet, when someone is constantly trying to sell you or get you involved in some shaky or shady business venture it is time to say goodbye. Also, those who post multiple times a day – or hour – can clog up your feed, and cause you to miss posts that might be relevant or useful from a career standpoint. They cause more harm than good.

LinkedIn for Dummies offers these easy-to-follow actions to delete a connection.

Twitter termination

According to Pardot.com the main reasons to unfollow on Twitter are when posters are too self promotional or “too noisy” with rapid-fire and relentless Tweets.

In either case, these Tweeters only serve to jam your feed and should be dispatched of quickly. In addition, some Twitter users follow large number of people in hopes they will follow them back. When that happens, they then promptly unfollow you. If you detect that occurring, return the favor by dumping them.

Twitter offers instruction on how to unfollow someone, including a simple way to report what you consider to be spam Tweets.

These general guidelines fit for other social networks as well. The bottom line your social media contacts should “first do no harm.” If they jeopardize your professional or career ambitions, cut them loose.
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Contributor

Claire Topalian is a writer, non-profit Communications professional, and advocate for diversity in business. She currently leads Communications and the Startup Women initiative at UP Global, an international non-profit that builds startup communities through educational programs and events. You can follow her on Twitter @clairetopalian.

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