Social Media: A is for Appropriate
Social Media Breakfast
I am amazed at how many people appear to not think too much before they post something online when they’re using social media like Facebook and Twitter. I guess some of it is to do with the immediacy and ‘socialness’ (is that a word?!) of social media but that, for me, is one reason why taking a little time to think before posting is a good idea! It’s really important to ensure that what you are posting is appropriate for your audience so you can avoid at least one of the potential Social Media pitfalls!
Social Media posts with consequences
We hear quite often nowadays of people who have been dismissed from their job because of some ill considered comments made online about their employer, or perhaps about them ‘taking a sickie’. In my previous ‘corporate’ life, before my four year old arrived, I was in HR and it’s still amazing to me how much has changed since then. We didn’t have to worry about our employees posting things about our business online because, in the main, no one knew how to do it! We didn’t need a policy that expressely covered social media – it didn’t really exist for our employees then. In those days(!) we still had just one person authorised to speak to the media, because it was controllable then; it’s not so easy to do that now.
Social Media: What’s appropriate?
There is often a debate about security and protecting information online and, whilst I would suggest ensuring that you know how to manipulate the security settings on platforms like Facebook, I would also urge you to decide what is acceptable for you to post online. I tend to work on the basis of anything I say can be seen by anyone: customers, prospects, family, friends, acquaintances, child and I post information accordingly.
What that means in practice is that sometimes I don’t click ‘Like’ on Facebook on that funny video with lots of swearing, even though I may think it’s hilarious, just in case I offend someone with it. I don’t complain about individuals. I don’t talk about my daughter online very much. I don’t share my location details until after the event because my address is available online.
Share and add value
Reading the above makes it sound like what I share online is very bland. I hope it isn’t! I share information that I hope will be useful to people who I am connected with and I join in conversations to try and offer some value. And you won’t find me sharing what I had for breakfast (unless it involves giving a testimonial to the restaurant I got it from!).
What do you think is appropriate and not to share online?
Staying Savvy on Social as an Employee
pizza social savvy
If you don’t have your privacy settings water-tight, it can be easy for future or current employers to see everything you post, and the consequences can be disastrous.
One teenager from Texas certainly found this to be true earlier this month. The night before she was due to work her first shift for a pizza chain, she took to Twitter complaining about it, and ended up being fired before she had even started.
This story has been heard around the world over the past ten days, and everyone has an opinion about whether the boss was right to fire her or not. Regardless, she has now found herself jobless, which raises some serious questions about how people should behave online with their employer in mind.
Just being honest
A survey we did found that shockingly, 29% of people feel that they can voice their opinions more honestly over social media than they can in real life, and 24% say they feel more confident speaking through Facebook, Twitter and other such platforms.
Unlike the recently unemployed Texan teenager, 57% of the UK’s population have their social media accounts set to private, meaning that their employers won’t be able to see their posts unless they either become Facebook friends or follow each other.
Pros of privacy
If you, like the young lady from Texas, are not looking forward to starting your new job in the morning, whining about it on Twitter might not be the smartest move – especially if you’re using vulgar language as she was. However, if your accounts are all set to private, this might not be a problem you have to encounter.
Once you have started at work, chances are you’ll start connecting with your new colleagues on social media. This is when you’ll need to start considering what you would or wouldn’t want your employer reading, since they may now be able to see in full whatever you’re posting.
Of course, it is unlikely that you will be fired for whinging about your favourite football team losing the match, but if you’re uploading pictures of a mid-week night out and calling in sick the next day, this might land you in hot water.
Outside of the office, you have no obligation to behave professionally, but you should avoid saying or doing anything online that will impact on your working relationships. You should also think carefully about what you say if you ever refer to the job itself – if there is a particular client you don’t like working with, mentioning them or their company by name might not be totally wise. There may also be aspects of your own company’s policies that you shouldn’t be talking about publicly, so always consider these points before you take to the internet for a rant.