You have worked hard to create an Internet presence. You have created a LinkedIn account, a Twitter account, and a Facebook account. You have polished your profile on these accounts. You have carefully selected people for your connections. You value your relationship with each person you have added as a connection. These are the people in your business, career, and social network. They are classmates, co-workers, bosses, clients, friends, and family.
You have connected your LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook accounts so that what you post on LinkedIn appears on all three accounts.
Late one night, you are reading through the updates on LinkedIn. You see something that disturbs you, perhaps a political article or some religious or social statement. You decide to post your opinion on this subject on your LinkedIn updates. The next morning you realize that what you posted is true but inflammatory.
You go back through your accounts and cut the comment. To your horror, you realize that your comment has created a thread of comments among people who completely disagree with your comment.
We all can say things that we regret. When we say these things in the privacy of our homes, we can more easily correct our wrongs. When say regrettable things in the office, we may find that we can correct our wrongs as long as we do not make a habit of saying regrettable things. When we post something on the Internet where hundreds or maybe thousands of people can read our comments, we suddenly find ourselves in situations that we can not correct.
In the media, broadcasters often work in teams of broadcasters who help each other review what they write. These broadcasters also may have editors with distinguished histories of cutting inappropriate statements.
Here are some good things to remember.
- If what you are writing makes you wonder whether the material is proper, your instincts are sending you a warning sign that you should heed.
- You have nothing to gain from posting anything you could regret.
- The things you write on the Internet become public records. People may come across comments years from now. By that time, you may have changed your point of view and have different friends and associates who find your comments offensive.
- You may not know you have offended someone and how that offense may have hurt you.
- Stay off membership sites when you feel tired or angry. A weary mind and bad moods can make us say things we regret.
- Avoid politics and religious discussions on membership sites. Membership sites are not political rallies or churches. They are places people go to learn what is current in business and in people’s lives.
- If you can’t say anything nice, do not say anything at all.
Marketing through social media definitely helps build careers and businesses. The most important thing you can write in social media is your profile. Make it correct and positive. As for updates and comments, limit those to things that draw people to you.
Image: Joe The Goat Farmer/Flickr