Another MLB pitcher has been found to have offensive tweets on his Twitter account. Although these tweets are several years old, they are likely to result in some type of action from Major League Baseball. This is the second such incident in MLB this season, and it’s one more example of how social media can harm your reputation and even cost you a job.
People forget that once something goes out on social media, it’s out there. Whether it’s a tweet you sent out, a scathing comment on your employer or the company you work for, or an inappropriate picture, it’s there for all the world to see. Some companies are now asking for passwords as part of their interview process to view the social media pages of persons they are interviewing.
Most people have strong opinions on various issues, but it becomes a problem when those opinions go public on social media that are read by strangers. We might share those opinions with close friends in private conversations, but few would publish them in the local newspaper. Why do we think it’s OK to publish them on our social media sites?
Here are some guidelines if you are going to use social media.
- Never post something when you’re angry. When you read something on social media that fires you up, cool down before responding. Better yet…don’t respond at all. It appears many people do not realize that it is acceptable to read something with which you disagree and just walk away from it.
- Fact check your statements before posting them online or sharing someone else’s post. Do you really believe everything you read on social media is true? Passing on false information makes people question everything you post.
- If you post opposing comments to something someone has said stick to the facts. Don’t attack their character.
- Avoid getting into third party arguments. I once responded to something a friend had posted on FB. A friend of his, whom I did not know, attacked my comment and to make sure I would know she was right she proceeded to tell me how much more educated she was than me which meant she knew more than me. The fact is, I have more advanced degrees than she did, but I didn’t mention that to her. I simply said that I did not engage in social media arguments and would leave the conversation. (See, it’s OK to walk away.)
- Practice civility. I blame social media on much of the incivility that exists in our society today. It’s so easy for people to make ugly comments when they can do so anonymously. Because they’ve made those types of comments on social media they now feel free to act that way in personal interactions.
- Say nothing negative about your employer or the company for which you work. My generation was raised to believe that you did not say anything negative about the ones who provide you with a job and an income. If you hate working there that much, quit and then feel free to say anything you want. Just remember that if you fill your social media with nasty comments about your previous or current employer you may find future employers reluctant to hire you.
- Avoid racist or offensive comments of any kind. Such comments have no business on social media or anywhere else for that matter.
Social media can be a great way to build your personal or business brand. It gives you a platform to show what you know and can do. Many successful people have used social media to build their businesses and/or promote themselves. But, it can also cause you a lot of problems if used inappropriately. Follow the guidelines above, use social media responsibly and you will enjoy greater success in life.