It’s a counterproductive “solution” to feeling overwhelmed, but social media is a great distraction when we’re feeling stressed.
Social media can be an excellent tool for freelance translators, but when we misuse it, our productivity and professional reputation suffer for it.
Managing Social Media: Advice for the Freelance Translator
Be selective about who you “friend”
There was a short period of time where we were accepting Facebook friend requests from anyone we knew; this included clients we produced translations for. We quickly realized, though, that our clients didn’t need to be privy to our personal lives. Do they really need to see the viral videos or the grumpy cat memes we’re enamored with? Probably not.
Updates come and go—but they still leave an impression
Our Facebook posts are ephemeral; they come and go; they get lost in the shuffle, but in the brief time they are visible, they tell a story about us; more specifically, though, they say a lot about how we are spending our time.
Did you just ask client X for a deadline extension? The same client who is a Facebook friend, the same one who saw 10 Facebook updates on the same day that we were supposed to deliver a translation?
Considering this, there are two solutions to your potential problem:
- Be selective about who you friend on Facebook
- Set up two Facebook pages: a personal page and a business page
Your Facebook network is small? Be judicious about your posts anyway
It’s a big world, but social media certainly makes it seem a lot smaller. Even if you are judicious about who you friend on Facebook, keep in mind that word travels fast and can jump from network to network.
It should really go without saying, but never post disparaging comments about clients, agencies or other language translators on social media. You may not be “friends” with the client you wrote a snarky comment about—but some of your friends may be.
Let’s talk about LinkedIn
LinkedIn exists for a very specific purpose, but from the looks of it, many users didn’t get the memo. If they had, they’d know that LinkedIn is where they connect with potential clients and other professionals.
LinkedIn is not the place for photographs of your trip to Tahiti—the ones where you can be seen glassy-eyed and toasting margaritas. If you are going to post these photos, save them for your private network of Facebook friends.