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How to Avoid Social Media Blunders

From the moment social media was invented, people have slowly become accustomed to sharing more of their lives on the internet. While many people are thoroughly aware of the fact that things post online can result in bullying or harassment, there are other consequences that are less obvious but not less damaging. If you’re looking to maintain a good working relationship with your friends, colleagues and – especially – your boss, read on for some food for thought.

Lying or getting caught in a lie

All too often the things we lie about come back to haunt us. Often we aren’t certain whether or not a little furphy on Facebook will hurt us down the line, but one thing we can be certain of is that once something’s on the internet, it’s there to stay. An example: Many, many employees have been caught out by some incriminating evidence posted on a ‘sick day’.

Revealing privileged information

Whether you’re an extra on a film set or a government employee, many people in a huge number of professions are bound by non-disclosure agreements designed to ensure that trade secrets stay secret. Despite this, many people persist in leaking confidential information regardless of strong institutional pressure and the threat of repercussion. Even if you think it won’t go any further than your immediate circle, think twice before posting that sneaky shot or even telling your friends.

Whining about work

Everyone has the right to complain about work, but be careful where you do it. A public forum such as your Facebook wall – especially if you have befriended colleagues through the service – may not be the best venue for complaints about your boss’ managerial style. While most employees are not legally compelled to avoid public discussion of workplace matters, others may take your outbursts as an indicator of your character, which can absolutely lead to your being shown the door.

Public abuse

Every company wants to maintain the best reputation possible for itself. While you may put up a mental wall between your private conduct and your professional life, others may not. Even if you don’t list your occupation and employer on your social media profile, it’s all too easy for interested parties to find that information out. Most businesses will expect you to maintain a standard of civility and decorum that becomes the company, whether you’re at your desk, meeting a client, or out in your private life. If you’re the kind of person who is unfortunate enough to be easily baited into arguments or is prone to online abuse, it may be best to think carefully about using social media.

Jumping on the wrong bandwagon

There are certain topics that are best steered clear of. It only takes one post of yours to offend, humiliate or degrade, and those are injuries that take a long time to heal. Avoid black humour if you’re speaking to a general audience, and think twice before using popular hashtags to promote yourself or your business. Social movements or global tragedies should not be seen as a way to get ahead.

Choosing the right topics

The conventional wisdom is never to discuss politics or religion at the dinner table. Now imagine the table is miles long and filled with hundreds or thousands of people. Welcome to social media. Discussing emotive or volatile subjects in a public forum will naturally polarise people, including your boss. Even if you feel strongly about what you’re about to say, think carefully about who might read it. They might feel just as strongly in the other direction.



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