Why Actors Should “Clean Up” Their Social Media
Imagine having an incredible audition for your dream role, but never end up getting a callback. As you’re wondering what could have gone wrong, you suddenly remember writing that Facebook status about how tipsy you got last Friday night, and retweeting that not so politically correct joke the day before that.
There’s no way to know if an off color social media post will cost you a role, but it’s best to keep public content on the vanilla side. Before you start auditioning, we suggest you do an audit of your social media accounts. If you have any public content, that’s where you have to be careful.
Why clean up your social?
It’s easy to forget that public feeds are, well, public. We tend to assume that eyes on our Facebook or Twitter feeds are friendly ones, when they can possibly cost you a potential acting gig. Make sure you’re not posting any of these topics, and check your past activity to see if anything questionable can be found by casting directors.
Nobody is immune to social judgement. Take The Daily Show’s new host Trevor Noah, who has been in hot water recently, thanks to old tweets from 2011 and 2012. The tweets were found by the public a single day after his succession to The Daily Show was announced, and Noah was extremely fortunate to have kept his new job.
Others aren’t so lucky. A teen in Texas tweeted that she was starting a job she described very negatively, followed by the thumbs down emoji. Her would be boss found the tweet, and fired her before she had her first day. This may seem unreal, but a single tweet that may be perceived as negative towards your job or castmates can put your acting career at risk.
You are what you post
Treat social media account as if they’re an active resume. Some say ‘you are what you eat’; in the public social media world, you definitely are what you post. Think of each update as a building block to a bigger picture that represents you as an actor. Present yourself as a hardworking professional, and you will appear more hireable.
It’s crucial to be sure you don’t have a tweet lying in the shadows of your account history that could hurt your career. Casting directors may not look up your accounts every time, but consider if you were up against another actor and the CD was looking to break the tie. That casting director will likely be checking your social accounts for influence and bankability, but they will be reading your content as well. Don’t let yourself get cheated out of your big break by having a questionable social presence!
How to filter your content
Before you look at the content you’ve already published, if you haven’t already done so, consider separating personal and professional accounts. This means you set up a Facebook fan page for yourself as an actor, instead of adding people to your personal Facebook account. The same applies to Twitter; you can set your personal account as ‘private’ and only include followers that you trust will keep the content secure. Make a public Twitter account for yourself as an actor that plays by these rules.
Begin with locking down your Facebook account, so you are completely private and only show your profile photo to anyone you aren’t ‘friends’ with. If you don’t already have an actor Facebook fan page, consider creating one.
For actors using Twitter, you’ll want to check the first 5-10 pages of tweets (at least), depending on your content style. If you’re a personality that tends to discuss “hot button” issues, it’s best to audit more of your account.
Knowing what content should be neutralized can be tough. It’s best to consider removing content that discusses the Big Three contentious issues: politics, religion and bedroom activities. Remember, you are making yourself a public figure that is being set to a higher standard by casting directors. If you wish to discuss topics that impassion you but may offend casting directors or potential fans, we advise you keep those discussions private.
Chatting about drinking, discussing colleagues or previous projects in a negative manner are also best to clear out. The purpose of these social media cleanses is to make sure you as hireable as possible, so public conversations are best kept as neutral as possible.
Audition competition is already fierce, so make sure your social media speaks highly of you. A well curated social media presence can be an incredible asset for an actor. Make sure yours is saying the right things, because your feeds can be read by anyone, at any time!