We are all part of the digital age, and use Facebook, Twitter and other social media to stay connected with our friends and family. However, as professionals, there is a fine line between our personal lives and our work lives when it comes to using social media and how we should conduct ourselves.
In Sarah Skerik’s article, 6 ways to avoid a personal PR crisis on social media, she presents helpful rules to remember that are often neglected. So before you send that tweet or update your status, run through this list to make sure you won’t have a personal PR crisis on your hands.Watch what you say. Language used today on TV and the radio is more vulgar than in the past. Even though the use of ‘descriptive’ language is more prevalent, it doesn’t mean you should use it. If you are associated with a brand you should be careful what you type. Watch your word choice when expressing yourself online.
Social media is always with you. If you post to your Facebook account and decide it’s inappropriate, you can delete it. However, who is to say someone didn’t screen shot your message and post it somewhere else? Everything you put on the Internet stays on the Internet, no matter if you want it to or not. Re-read what you say before you post it and make sure it is something you won’t regret or want to delete later. Remember everything you say online is never really deleted.
Would you let your mom/children read your postings? If you are planning on typing up a criticizing or vulgar message to someone, make sure it is something you wouldn’t be embarrassed to have your mom, CEO or children read. The social media sites are free forums for you to post, however, when associated with a brand you may cause a personal issue if you post a rude comment.
Take the high road. Skerik suggests to be a good sport and “never be a jerk.” If someone or something gets under your skin that you really want to discuss, write it but don’t post it. Be gracious with what you type.
Weigh the scenarios. By weighing the best and worst-case scenarios your social media messages could generate, you can have a better handle on analyzing the effects of your message. Think carefully before you tweet and post.
Don’t mix your work life with your personal life. You are allowed to have free time and space to say what you think. The easiest way to have this freedom is to create two social media spaces, for “work” and for “play.” You can make each platform separate and avoid any crisis that could occur by only having one domain name. Just remember in your “play” social presence to manage your privacy settings and only connect with people you would want to know on a more personal level.
By following these rules before you type a tweet, or upload a funny picture to Facebook, you can save yourself the personal crisis that could result from your online habits.