Digital faux pas are especially dangerous, since you cannot “un-publish” a tweet. So how do you avoid sticking your foot in your mouth and what do you do when a regrettable comment does make its way into the twitterverse? After speaking with a number of people on the subject, I’ve collected a few more do’s and don’ts.
1) Be careful what you tweet/post because you CANNOT take it back. It will inevitably define you no matter how much you try to dig yourself out of it. Unlike real-life reputations, digital reputations are created very quickly, but both can shatter just as fast. Reminds me of a quote from Benjamin Franklin “Glass, china, and reputations are easily cracked and never well-mended.” Whether we are aware of it or not, the way we connect with others on social media reflects our true identity –permanently.
2) Strengthen your mental edit and delete functions – not every thought needs to make its way to your cyber audience. No matter how mundane or innocuous a thought may seem, you are always one post/tweet away from becoming (in) famous! Many a career has been stalled, a job has been lost, or a lucrative offer revoked from the so-called foot-in-the-mouth disease.
3) If you do make a mistake, move on to recovery mode quickly.
4) If you are tweeting/posting anything to do with your job, check out your company’s social media policy first. Use the power of social media technology to promote and not derail your career. For HR folks, if your company doesn’t have a social media policy, this is a good time to create one! There are many resources to help you with that – Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) comes to mind.
5) Managing your reputation
If all these suggestions are taking the fun out of being spontaneous, consider the alternative – tarnished reputations and the loss of something coveted like relationships, status, jobs, etc.
Social media is the great equalizer – it doesn’t discriminate among novices and seasoned users. Every mistake (and mis-tweet) has the power to imperil the author!
Tell us what you use to guide your communications and exchanges on the variety of social media platforms.
Do you use different tactics for different media?
What does work and what doesn’t work?
How do you use social media to promote your career?
Share with us your favorite stories about social media missteps!