You know you aren't in college anymore. And you know that social media sites typically couldn't care less about your privacy, so there is a decent chance that whatever you post will accidentally go public. (Or an annoying friend will screen-cap it and pass it along to others.)
And yet: you're on Facebook. And Twitter. And Instagram. And Ello. And whatever the heck else is out there.
Here are five tips for survival:
1. Don't Say Anything Off-Color
Yeah, in college, you could share that dirty joke or video. Now? Some uptight 1L classmate will gasp in horror, comment about how horrible of a human being you are, and if it is juicy enough, maybe even tip off one of those legal tabloid blogs.
Think to yourself: could I say this to the average grandmother? If not, sit on it for a few hours before clicking send.
2. Twitter Is for Lawyers
For lawyers, Twitter is the place to be. Why? Because I'm on there, of course.
I kid. But there are loads of professors, practitioners, students, bloggers, judges, and other legal professionals that remain active on Twitter. LinkedIn? It's a spiffy resume. Facebook? It's for your fellow twentysomethings to post pictures of their happy lives and children to make you feel worse about yours. Instagram? Food and puppy pics.
3. Okay, LinkedIn Is More Than a Resume
Barely more, but it is more. On a resume, you fluff your credentials up to attract employers' attention. On LinkedIn, you have to be a bit more realistic and honest, as your coworkers, supervisors, and former employers are all watching.
Another way it differs? LinkedIn is dynamic: you can include links to projects, law review articles, online blog posts, and other evidence of your genius.
4. Build Your Reputation Now
If you don't think employers are going to social media stalk you, you're really naive. This gives you two options: turn everything on ultra-private or make everything that is public-facing as professional and intelligent as possible.
Imagine how impressed a stalking future employer will be when they dig up your Twitter account and find shared blog posts and articles about their practice area. Or tweets back-and-forth with others interested in the field. It means a bit more than writing, "I really like Environmental law," in your cover letter.
5. Professional Headshot
We've talked about getting a proper headshot for lawyers. The same goes for you, law students. Why? See supra: employers will social media stalk you.
That's the quick listicle version of our collected wisdom. More can be found in FindLaw's free Social Media for Attorneys Miniguide.
Editor's Note, November 4, 2015: This post was first published in November 2014. It has since been updated.