How should an actor should conduct themselves on public social media so that it positively affects their career instead of vice versa. Friending people, commenting in groups, commenting on other's personal page?
Top O' da Mornin' To Yah!
In terms of friending Casting people or other Production types who hire you, I'd say it's always a good idea to only friend them if you actually know them, like you have met in person. Most others will have a professional type page you can like until you do get a chance to know them. I personally often mix my personal and professional pages, but not all of us do, some of them like their personal lives to stay personal and out of the industry. So, also don't be offended if they don't accept your request! (for example, my instagrams are totally separate, but my facebook is totally merged).
If you are commenting on someone else's post, or in a group, ask yourself before you write whatever it is that you are thinking, "is this helpful?", "does this add to the conversation?" "do i have a different perspective to offer this thread?". If you aren't being supportive or informative, maybe you don't need to chime in. There have been a couple of posts I've seen recently in different talent groups where people are having stupid fights, and just generally being petty and insulting. While the group may have "actors" or "talent" in the title, a lot of us who do the hiring for projects are also in those groups, and we see how you interact and how you treat each other. If you are one of those people constantly sniping at other people, we may think twice before we ask you in for a project. Be positive, be supportive, be a mature adult. Basically, don't be an assh*ole, no one likes working with assh*oles.
Don't sh*t on the Boston/New England production community. This may seem like a no-brainer, but i can not TELL you the number of times I've seen people bashing the Boston/New England scene on Facebook posts. THAT hugely tells me that the person writing that is unprofessional and should find another career to pursue - if I've seen you act like that on social media you will never step foot in my office. I don't have the time or patience to work with anyone like that, i refuse to reward bad behavior.
Be aware of your privacy settings when posting things that are political in nature. You don't want that to be what other professionals remember you for. OBV post whatever you want, freedom of speech etc, but just be aware that you may be alienating people who might be in a position to hire you in the future. This is a great reason to possibly maintain a "page" for professional connections, and your own separate profile for personal things. I'm very aware of the things i post that have any sort of political slant or statement of any kind, as I am also friends with many of the clients who hire me, and I wouldn't want to push any of them away from hiring me because of how I've represented myself and behaved on social media.
Never post potentially sensitive info about an audition or job. Especially audition stuff. If you receive an email or audition invite from a Casting Director or your agent, that does not mean you get to share any of the info regarding that job with any one else. Do not forward castings like that to other people, do not post those on social media. Don't post the script or boards or lines to anything anywhere ever. I have seen talent literally post a picture of a script to their social media. Do not do that. You do not have ownership of that material. It is the intellectual property of the ad agency, or the screenwriter or the production. NOT YOURS. Do not ever post videos of auditions anywhere that they could ever potentially be publicly viewed. Again, you don't own that material. Using clips from the final product after release etc is a totally different thing, and of course you're allowed to use it for your reel.