Avoid destroying your reputation online
People have gotten themselves into deep problems using social media sites like Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin. However, the problem is definitely not the tool but the user. Social media doesn’t get people into trouble, people get people into trouble.
We will tackle safety aspects in a future article, where you will see that you are in charge of what you share—the world will not instantly know everything about you. In the meantime, remembering the following five things will help you avoid destroying your reputation online.
Rule #1: Nothing is private.
This one is particularly hard for teenagers and politicians to understand. If you post a compromising picture of yourself or a really offensive comment on your private Facebook timeline or protected Twitter stream, the world still has access to it.
Beyond hackers, all it takes is one contact/friend/peer who is upset with you to take a screen shot of your post. What is a screen shot? Have you ever noticed the Print Screen button on your computer? For many people, it is located near the function keys at the top of your keyboard. When you use this button, you can “take a picture” of whatever you are looking at on your screen. You can then paste it in a Word document, email it, post it in your own social media accounts, etc. Anyone can do the same to you. If you post something inappropriate or against your employer’s social media policy and then delete it, the damage has likely already been done.
We saw this repeatedly in the 2008 presidential campaign when vice presidential hopeful Sarah Palin’s teenage daughters would post tweets and then delete them, only for major news outlets to have already captured screen shots.
Rule #2: Your Granny Will Be Happy To Read That ?
If you wouldn’t want your granny to see it or for it to be posted on, don’t do it. Ask yourself the following questions: Is it smart to post that politically charged message? Does the world really need to see your hairy legs and new Speedo? Is it really the best choice to post your home address if you work from home?
Also, never post anything in a private message you would not want shared with the world. One reason is Rule #1 and the second reason is that you could accidentally post something in a public area you meant to post in a private message.
Rule #3: Bridle your inner Joan Rivers.
Joan has made a career being snarky and making fun of others. If you are not a professional comedian whose online brand revolves around a similar image, don’t try it. Trust me, you’ll look like a jerk, and people will unfriend or unfollow you.
Rule #4: Social media is not a personal journal.
Maybe this seems obvious, but many people vent their frustrations on social media. I’ve seen people post amazingly private details about their intimate relationships, post about their bosses, and even request the wrath of a deity be brought down on someone’s head. The truth of the matter is people have their own problems; they do not want to read about anyone else’s.
Additionally, who wants to work with or be around someone who obviously has anger issues? Sure, that doesn’t mean the poster would attack them, but it does mean they allow their anger to supersede their common sense.
Rule #5: Treat your social media profiles like your home or business.
I once had a client who stated he had a very difficult time turning down friend requests and felt it was rude to do so. As a result, his Facebook timeline was packed with games, pictures of calendars, shoe advertisements, etc., all courtesy of his Facebook friends. I turned to him and said, “If a man knocked on your door, right now, and you saw he was wearing a zoot suit, platforms, a big fuzzy hat, and sporting a walking cane with two scantily clad women on his arms, would you let him in here—into the lobby of your business?” . He laughed and said, “Of course not!” When I asked why, he answered, “Well, he’ll make my business look less professional and may scare away my existing clients!” EXACTLY!
If you accept any and everyone, it will eventually backfire and make you look bad in the eyes of the contacts you do want. I have seen Facebook timelines look like New York City subway cars at midnight—you see a little bit of everything, and I mean EVERYTHING!
If you follow these five simple rules you will avoid destroying your reputation online. Also you will have a great social media profile that people will like to follow and share the things you post.For more infos on Social Media Reputation, check our other articles that will help you have a great Social Media presence:
- Top Five Rules for Being Successful on Social Media
- 5 Social Media Marketing Tips from Professionals