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Social Media is pretty cool and also quite risky, if you ask me. A single unfortunate post can throw your entire career off track. Like when you partied whole night and ended up posting ‘dick pics‘ on Facebook. Or worse yet, tweeting “My boss is such a …(fill that with what’s most inappropriate シ)”. Many people, like someone I know (I promise this is not my confession)  have had to learn the hard way what a ‘slippery slope’ social media can be – So ‘friend X’ asks for a sick leave on Monday, right after the weekend. Got it. Friend ‘X’ later that evening instagrams, tweets and even posts on Facebook about how “party don’t stop, #WeekendJustGotLonger…”. To cut story short, his weekend never stopped.

And yet in an era in which the young workers are connected with an average of 16 co-workers online and where most hiring managers use social media to screen potential hires, it is simply not reasonable to stay off social media entirely. A survey about Facebook in the workplace showed that using the site actually improves worker productivity. So how can we balance the personal and professional online?

First off, say this with me: “I will not be stupid on social media.” But then, who are we kidding? We can’t promise that, we can and will be vulnerable to the stupidity that will drive us to tweet something really really dumb and unprofessional.

It might not be obvious to everyone, but it is true: the more that posts are tailored to specific circles in a social world, the less risk there is that they will cause offense or embarrassment.  So, for anyone willing to invest the time and effort, I recommend a strategy in which social media users manage both their audience and their content. This is what Google+ was designed to facilitate.

People are also doing this on Facebook by creating two lists, one personal and another professional, and posting different content to these lists. So they safeguard their professional reputations while still maintaining an honest and lively Facebook identity. This custom strategy is usually employed by public figures, who often set up distinct accounts to make absolutely clear when they are and aren’t speaking in a professional capacity.

So this is how I would go about it, share with us how you would go about it in the comments section or tweet me @jgenrwot and @pctechmagazine