Open Mouth, Insert Social Media!

Is Facebook your downfall?  It might be depending on what you have said and who is looking.  I know, you don’t think I’m talking about you.  You’re feeling pretty smug and happy about your posts knowing there are no pictures of you doing shots at a redneck bar with no shirt on.  That isn’t you and you’re proud of yourself.

The trouble is, in real life we filter ourselves.  We sometimes don’t even know we are doing it, but we all do it.  Our church or office behavior is different than our happy hour behavior.   We all know that employers may be looking at our online behavior and we do our best to keep our Social Media behavior above board and safe.  But, just as Social Media has expanded beyond most people’s imaginations, so have the ways you can expose yourself and then reap serious consequences.

The election year seemed to bring out the worst in people and they seemingly did not think about the ramifications. One fellow I know was un-friended by two people who voted for the other party.  He noticed and felt they were overreacting. What he was not aware of was the long term customer of his firm who had become a friend and was also insulted. His firm lost the customer, he lost a friend, but because they did not confront him or un-friend him, he was not aware of the offense.

What about the woman who raves about partying with her new boyfriend and sees her posts used against her in divorce court to prove she is an unfit mother?  The man applying for a job who posted how much his previous boss was an idiot may be surprised to realize the HR director has his posts printed out and stapled to his application.  Social Media, and your posts on it, can really have an impact on your legal and financial world.

Surprisingly, sometimes not having Social Media accounts can hinder you.  A prospective employer may wonder what you are hiding and why you don’t have a normal online footprint.  A woman you have asked out may wonder if you are secretive or not the person you say you are.  The real advice here is simple:  be the person online that you want would most want to be.  Click “like.” Be supportive.  Don’t be racist, sexist, or hurtful.  Express your political opinions, if you must, politely and articulately. Help little old ladies across the street and always say please and thank you.  Boring?  Maybe, but much safer than the alternative!

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