Despite our loss of privacy, we still have the freedom of choice. We have a choice to have integrity and uphold our reputation. Integrity is what you do when you think no one is watching. Reputation is the public perception of who you are or how others view your integrity. Warren Buffett once said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.”
This statement offers some of the best social media advice.
When it comes to social media, common sense isn’t so common. One in three people regret something they posted online. Even if you’re not on Facebook or Twitter and don’t post pictures from a reunion, vacation, or the holiday office party, someone else will. Advances in cell-phone cameras and wearable technology continue to decrease privacy. You need to assume whatever you do, both offline and online, will be seen by your boss, coach, partner, or teacher. If it’s something that would embarrass your mother, don’t do it.
Your digital reputation is more important than ever before. In fact, 91% of companies use LinkedIn to research candidates when hiring. Cecilia Kang, a reporter for The Washington Post further shares, “70% of hiring managers say they reject job applicants because of information they find online.” If you do participate in social media, what do you want people to find when they search Google? Use these two questions as your moral compass as you think about what to post on your social media networks:
1. Do I want to stand out? Start by not complaining. Add value by being positive and an inspiration to those in your social network.
2. Should I post this? Count to three. If it takes you longer than three seconds to decide if it’s appropriate to post…it’s not.
Be careful of posting in the heat of the moment or when you’re emotional. Remember that anything you post online is permanent and can have hurtful and sometimes irreversible effects.
We all make mistakes. But how we address these mistakes online and offline is what matters. In addition to learning from the experience, always own up to the mistake and apologize to
those who were affected by it. Lay out the action items to make it right and follow through with each step both privately and publicly when applicable.
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