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Aliza Licht's BLACKBOARD



Episode 8: "Don't Post Your Way To Unemployment"


Remember freedom of speech? I don’t know about you, but lately, I feel as if we have lost it. If social media reflects the health of our society today, I’m afraid that our blood pressure has reached toxic levels. The art of debate has been replaced by harassment and bullying. On a daily basis, I see Facebook friends brawl and publicly unfriend each other. If Facebook is where friendships go to die, Twitter is where strangers go to battle.

When you’re watching the online war of words unfold, it’s easy to feel compelled to jump into the conversation. After all, many of these topics are important and demand attention, but at the same time in an effort to express who we are, we forget how freedom of expression shapes our reputation. What you post on social media contributes to your personal brand and your professional status. If managed well, social media can advance your career. But, if you continuously weigh in on the latest scandal, political issue or hot-button topic, you are making statements that could get you fired. Always remember that your social presence is exhibit B, right after your LinkedIn profile, and while it may feel good to declare your position on an issue or share what’s on your mind, your employer might not feel the same way.

Here are my top six rules for navigating the treacherous waters of social media while keeping your job and reputation intact. Remember at a cocktail party this big; you better bring your manners. Your career depends on it.

 

1. RSVP No.
You don’t have to fight every fight. The truth is there is no way to convince people that your view is better than theirs. As much as you might want to assert your opinion or respond to a hateful or negative post, it’s rarely worth it. It’s almost impossible to win the battle of words on social media. And once something catches fire, it’s extremely difficult to put out. Instead, work up the strength to ignore nasty comments rather than engaging. If you feel that you must engage, always consider the aggressor’s profile and timeline before you reply. You should note the number of followers (if they are insignificant, better to ignore) and pay attention to the type of posts normally shared. You might find this person is merely looking for a fight.

2. Speak For Yourself.
Even though what you say can be used against you professionally, adding a disclaimer like “my thoughts are my own” to your bio can help separate what you say from what your company endorses. Many people make the mistake of only listing their job title on their social media bio, which can give the appearance that your opinions are endorsed by your employer. Just remember that if you include where you work on any social platform, you are automatically representing that company publicly. I’ve seen people get fired because of comments they made on their private Facebook accounts. No social platform is sacred.

3. Pretend The Delete Button Doesn’t Exist.
Hang this on your fridge: The screenshot is way more powerful than the delete button. On Twitter especially, you can get into a lot of hot water when deleting a post. Just because a post doesn’t have replies or retweets, doesn’t mean that it hasn’t already racked up hundreds of impressions. Therefore, before you delete a post, you need to know that the odds of the wrong person seeing your tweet are high, as are the odds of someone taking a screenshot of it.

4. Know The Blind Item Isn’t So Blind.
Everyone loves a good mystery. We’ve all been so angered about something that we feel compelled to make a statement. But alas, we are smarter than blatantly calling out the subject, so we slyly post about it. The blind post is a favorite way to throw shade, but the sub-post is often the easiest way to uncover the subject. You know the drill: Post blind item. Friend notices blind item and comments back. You know, she knows, whom you are referring to. The more sub-posts there are, the more obvious the subject becomes. Bottom line: The blind post can make everyone see all too well.

5. Don’t Feel Safe With Snapchat.
Social media mavens everywhere are rejoicing in the airy freedom of the disappearing snap. (So much so that Instagram just released a similar feature.) Snapchat gives the illusion that anything goes. Its biggest fans are enamored with how authentic and in the moment you can be on Snapchat. In fact, it’s recommended. But don’t be fooled by the fleeting nature of the platform or the idea that you can share every moment of your world or thought in your head. What you post on Snapchat is the newest and quickest way to get you fired. Beware of the little green arrow indicating that a screenshot has been taken. A post that lasted a few seconds could impact your career forever. Take the most recent example of a woman who snapped a naked body shaming pic of another gym-goer on Snapchat. Not only was she banned from going to that gym ever again, she lost her job as well.

6. Do Spring Clean.
Before you’re about to pitch new business, make a new, meaningful connection or apply for a job, it’s smart to take a stroll down social memory lane. The volume that active social media users post far exceeds our ability to remember what we posted about and when. Don’t let your reputation get caught in the past by doing a proactive sweep of your social media timelines. For Twitter, it’s best to do a Twitter advanced search, so you can find and delete old posts that no longer fit the image you want to portray.Miss Teen USA just learned this the hard way.

xo,

Aliza


Do you want to tell me something about this post or do you want to suggest the topic of my next one? Email me at blackboard@alizalicht.com or tweet me @AlizaLicht

 
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