The Scenario:

Sam is frustrated with a project at work.  Kicking back after a long day, Sam is now online and rehashing the drama of the day –

“I just need to vent.  Right?  My friends will get what I’m saying.”

Purged & Posted:

Sam is now justifying his actions –

“Everybody’s talking about it.  I’m the only one who has the guts to get the conversation going.  The company needs to make some changes.”   

Damage Control:

There’s no such thing as a social media do-over.

Managing privacy settings is certainly important to monitoring message content.  But if friending a boss or client, “your privacy settings are null and void” according to a Harvard Business Review case study.  More importantly, no one has control over the actions of others or how information is shared.

While a post may have been deleted, the photo, message, or a screen shot may still be out there for all the world to see and judge.  This may have a permanent impact on your reputation, whether on a corporate or individual level.

Pro Tips

  1. Social media should be used to engage and build relationships, not to tear down or belittle.
  2. Treat your personal social media as if it could be seen by the whole world.
  3. If your post contains any mention of your employment, be professional.
  4. Beware of social media terms of service.  Many social media platforms have the legal rights to use your content in any way they see fit.

The Aftermath:

Sam to his boss – “I really am sorry.  What I said was only meant to be read by a group of friends on my thread.  I didn’t think anyone outside that group would see it.  I didn’t think it was really that big of deal.  I wrote it on my personal time off.”

Sam’s boss – “I’m sorry too.  You’ve been a great asset to our team.  Unfortunately, your opinions have been perceived as divisive and offensive not only to your immediate colleagues and clients, but to the company.  Unfortunately, you divulged company information in a public forum and have failed to comply with our company’s policies on social media.  Unfortunately, because of your actions, this is now in the hands of HR.”