Modern professionals face an interesting dilemma these days-that of accepting a ‘Friend Request’ from their colleagues and people of the organisation they are working in. While not accepting the same might look bad from the perspective of maintaining official decorum, pressing the confirm button would mean exposing one’s opinions, day-to-day activities, informal interactions, to members of the official framework.

The risks are substantial in both the alternatives. For millennials, social media is the platform for communication. From no-holds-barred hangover induced fun holiday pictures, to rant about politics- official, national or international, everything finds its way to social media communication sites and apps. However, expressing yourself ‘freely’ might not be as inconsequential as it was earlier, especially when your company might be snooping on you.

According to a recent survey, a massive 70 per cent of employers evaluated the social media pages to screen candidates before hiring. And the reason is simple-These platforms provide the ideal source for amassing a significant amount of information about a prospective employee across a wide variety of themes and interests. However, as social media gradually transcends the space of personal leisure, professionals are becoming increasingly aware of its role.

The cult of the professional social network: Why professionals are being careful on social media Every organisation has certain goals and vision with which they would like their employees to identify with. By analysing the social media profile of a person, a company can take a good call on whether a person will be able to adjust to the work conditions. For instance, an environmentally conscious individual may not want to be a part of a manufacturing organisation responsible for pollution or a politically aware person with a defined stance may not be found suitable by a manager with opposing views.

This is the reason why many professionals are gradually opting to flood their news feeds and home pages with the latest news and innovations in their particular professional sector, rather than opinions on macro-themes such as politics. A profile filled with industry relevant information gives the impression that the professional is at the top of his/her game and is clearly aware of the latest trends. Additionally, professionals are also refraining from ranting over social media about official issues, as these might be observed by colleagues and result in an embarrassing situation.

Organisations seek one-to-one conversations: Social media overhauls itself to facilitate rant-free communication It is not only professionals and employees however who are trying to put the best foot forward when it comes to social media identity. Even enterprises prefer one-on-one communication channels with a grieving customer rather than public platforms.

A recent survey of 500 top retailers shows only 20 per cent of questions sent via Twitter and 54 per cent via Facebook get a response, with an average response time of 27 hours. On the other hand, personal communications are attended quickly. In fact, some social networks are even offering ways for companies to obtain customer feedback behind closed doors, through innovative chat and messaging functions.

Analysing the social media persona of a prospective applicant undoubtedly helps in analysing their emotional IQ and the overall personality. However, it should not be given supreme importance without knowing the entire context and without offering the person a chance to explain.

On the other hand, users should also refrain from continuously filing their complaints on social media sooner or later, companies would be numbed into indifference by the sheer volume of messages. For long-term collaborations, understanding through one-to-one conversations is essential.

The writer is CEO of LiveMe and Senior Vice President at Cheetah Mobile