by Tony Vidler
If there is one golden rule of using social media that we should constantly refer to, it is “Think before you Tweet“. Or “Facebook”…or “Tumblr”…or post anything on any online channel.
In recent times an adviser in Australia lost his job, and possibly his career, over a a mini-rant against a politician. The real damage was the derogatory reference to the politico’s religion. In NZ, a journalist offended pretty much everyone recently by suggesting on social media that the death of some small children had perhaps been “natural selection”…and then we have the various “big game hunters” proudly posting photo’s of themselves and the virulent reaction globally or the senior executive with the pathetically racist tweet about probably not catching AIDS on a trip to Africa…the examples of professional self-destruction can go on and on.
By now it should be pretty well understood that a single tweet, or message of 140 characters or less, is all it takes to end a career or lose a business. For many professionals who have perhaps a few hundred or a few thousand followers that seems a rather extreme statement to make – surely one mistake might cost some fans and followers, but not an entire reputation?
I wonder how many facebook friends that dentist from Minnesota had? Or how many LinkedIn connections? One post however had millions around the globe talking about him, and it resulted in him having to close his practice.
The wonderful upside of social media is the viral nature of it. That unfortunately is also it’s nasty downside. When you get something wonderfully right, then you can truly get the world talking about it. When you get something horribly wrong, well, you can get the whole world talking about it…
There is one thing to always remember with using social for business:
Given the value of your reputation over your entire working career, it is not unreasonable to suggest that there are potentially millions at stake with every post. Any prudent professional or business owner should mitigate that risk by putting in place some controls. The key things to remember, and look to control where possible, are:
Follow these principles and the risk of reputation damage is minimised, if not eliminated entirely.
You may also find this post useful: How to ensure you are compliant while using social media
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