Because we are either sitting in front of a computer or focused on our cell phones and not looking at others face-to-face, it is often easy to fall into what I call “social media pitfalls.” These are the habits that we fall into without thinking it through. Everything is so fast-paced these days that it’s easy to fall into specific traps.
What’s important to remember is that once something goes out on the Internet, i.e. social media, it is there for all the world to see. At some point, what you’ve posted may come back to haunt you, whether it is a prospective hiring manager checking you out or someone who may be interested in you personally.
The following pitfalls will leave a negative impression that you may not mean to convey. Let’s examine them:
» Airing personal dislikes related to politics, religious beliefs, wealth vs. poverty, obesity, or eating disorders. It is best to avoid these topics.
» Telling off-color jokes or using profanity. Doing so paints you as a rude and inconsiderate person who offends others.
» Criticizing others about their appearance, beliefs or behavior. It is best not to criticize those who are offensive but rather defend those being criticized if you must get involved. Rule of thumb is to avoid involvement.
» Commenting about race, sexual behavior, gambling and drinking, guns and weapons, drug use, gender-related humor or poking fun at the disabled. These are taboo.
» Relating personal or confidential information about yourself or others, such as reporting a death in someone’s family, an illness of another, or a pregnancy, etc. Let those involved handle them. Even if you are reporting about yourself, it is best not to use social media to announce these issues. It’s more appropriate to discuss them in person (or over the phone if distance is an issue) with those close to you. Once it is common knowledge, then allow discussion on social media if you so choose.
» Providing a blow-by-blow status of what you are eating, where you are going (on a day-to-day basis) or that you are sitting on the sofa with your significant other. No one cares and this soon becomes irritating to others.
» Publishing photos of others, using location-based tagging, or even tagging the names of others in public updates without permission. Respect the privacy of others.
» Using social media to rant and rave. Don’t use it to rant about the horrible customer service of a restaurant or company. Social media isn’t your own personal soapbox, and it really makes you look petty when you do so.
» Presenting an overall negative demeanor or “voice” on social media. Don’t be like Debbie Downer on Saturday Night Live. No one likes to be brought down on a continuous basis, and you’ll find yourself “defriended” more often than not.
It’s best to always convey a positive, upbeat and respectful “persona” on social media. People like to be around happy and positive. That goes for business and life! Keep it in mind the next time you sign on!
Good Article Applying Social Media to Business
Click here for a related article about 10 Taboo Topics to take off your social media account.
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— John Daly is the founder and president of The Key Class, the go-to guide for job search success. Click here to learn more about The Key Class or get information on Thursday night classes in Santa Barbara. Connect with The Key Class on Facebook. Follow John Daly on Twitter: @johndalyjr. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.