Social Media Responsibility

May 3, 2010

Social Media Responsibility

 Facebook has truly changed the world as many of us “old codgers” would say.  I encourage all of my friends my age to get on board and sign up.  We don’t want to be left behind! 

 I have read several articles in the last six months or so that discuss social behaviors and how it’s all “out there” regarding lifestyles etc.  This weekend brought it to home for me.  A son of two dear friends, claims his friend wrote something on HIS Facebook that contained a very offensive word and also a comment that would destroy some of his business contacts.  This young man uses Facebook to reach others regarding his professional life.  Now, this comment could be removed, but apparently he didn’t see the comment for awhile or didn’t think through the consequences, but it was on there for a good bit of a 24 hour period.  The question is how many people saw it and were offended by the comment?  How many people will now decide not to do business with this young man?

In my younger and wilder days, I would have defended the comment, the word used, everything to the hilt.  Now in my “wiser” years, I would council that you don’t sling it all out there simply because there are people you do business with everyday that might judge you on one detail of your life and choose not to do business with you because of that one word or comment.  No, of course we can’t be perfect (I am certainly living proof of that!), but we have to be responsible.

For the young professionals I would suggest that you simply think twice before you post to your facebook account at 3 a.m. when mayyyybe you had that one extra drink that takes away common sense.  Even political comments can come back to bite you. 

Owning a business, or being respected by all of your colleagues is very important.  Sometimes it takes years (if ever) to live something down (the voice of experience guys!).  When you are young the world is open to you.  With that comes a responsibility that sometimes you only learn from shooting yourself in the foot a couple times.  I get that.  But if one person thinks twice today before they type something that might come back to bite them, I have made my point.

Someone wisely said “a picture is worth 1,000 words.”  That’s true too!  Some of these young folks take pictures at 3 a.m. that are less than flattering and include gestures, parties and other events that might be best left to a private slideshow at the NEXT event.  Remember, these pictures may depict you in a light found offensive by someone you are trying to convince that you are responsible, dependable, and professional!  Somehow it would be hard for me to hire a bookkeeper who has 20 photos of herself at a party with a martini glass in each hand!    I would worry she would be balancing my books the next day with a massive hangover and little attention to details!

There are Facebook settings that can limit what people see.  If you want to post controversial pictures and comments, be mindful that you can protect your professionalism – if you take the time to learn how to do this!  But also remember others pictures can still find their way to Facebook!

Dad always said to steer clear of politics, religion and sexual orientation when in a crowd and he didn’t live to see Facebook.  Facebook is more than a crowd!  Just a suggestion…but think twice before you post!

 

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