Navigating the Minefield that is Social Media

Posted by Matt Schwartz on Fri, Apr 14, 2017 @ 11:04 AM

0o1a0119-36 (1).jpgHow many times must it be said that you need to be aware (or beware) of what you post on social media? This is because your friends aren’t the only ones looking – so are your coworkers and maybe even your employer.

Something totally inoffensive and harmless to you may severely damage your reputation or even cause you to lose your job. Compounding the matter is that it could be something you didn’t actually share – you were tagged in another person’s post.

In an article titled, “Social Postings Still Land Employees in Hot Water” on the website of the Society for Human Resource Management, it notes that, when it comes to social media, HR departments should have policy and training sessions so that employees know the rules and boundaries. Some examples of things that can get you in trouble include an unflattering photo, political rants, or simply using poor judgment when stating your opinions on the Internet or sharing personal information.

Let’s say that you were at a conference and had a photo taken of you drinking a beer with other attendees. This was then posted on a social media site, or maybe you posted it yourself. Your company has a strict “no drinking while representing the company” policy. You could then be reprimanded or fired if this photo was discovered. A more obvious example would be if you posted a strong political opinion or, unwisely, posted hateful rhetoric or inflammatory remarks. Among other actions that could get you in trouble is participating in a fun activity and then posting a photo, marking the location you visited, or commenting on said place when you had taken a sick day off from work.

Always think about what you post and who might see or share it. Sometimes, the cons outweigh the pros. Granted, some work-related speech is protected, but you shouldn’t rely on that.

Also, while you have the right to free speech – meaning you have the freedom to express yourself without being censored – it doesn’t mean you have the right to freedom from consequences of that speech.

Topics: Company Culture, Employee Engagement, Business Strategy