There has been a lot of speculation and questions surfacing recently about freedom of speech on social media platforms. The recent economic situation in Greece, in particular, has seen some “unorthodox” tweets and posts being used and subsequently scrutinized.
This is obviously not the first time this kind circumstance has arisen when it comes to social media, CEOs, CFOs and now country presidents have been down this road before, some losing their jobs in the process.
If you’d like to catch up on Online Reputation Management fundamentals, you can view some of our past blogs here.
We are most certainly not trying to scare anybody here or make it seem like social media is a disaster waiting to happen if you speak your mind. That is not what this is about.
Social media is one of the most powerful tools created in the last decade; it holds vast amounts of human collective consciousness and has been used for an immense amount of good causes. Unfortunately, like every other human creation, a powerful tool in the wrong hands becomes dangerous. We’ve all heard of the bullying and other questionable behaviour that can occur on these platforms.
We’ve spoken about how you can secure yourself and be more alert on social media platforms before but what we want to focus on now is, what you should consider when you post, tweet, “like,” share or “retweet” on social media platforms.
Your social media profiles are your digital self. Simple. Everything you share or post on a social media platform is effectively coming out of your digital mouth.
This is very important; remember that societal rules and laws still apply. You have freedom of speech but you also have the responsibility of that freedom. You may say whatever you like as long as it does not inflict on the rights of others. For example bullying on social media, these individuals have the right to say whatever they like but not at the emotional expense of the individual being bullied. There is an enormous amount of research being conducted on the psychological effects and outcomes for both perpetrators and victims to this behaviour and the outcomes are staggering. The rule of thumb is,
“if you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, don’t say it on social media.”
Keep your morals in mind when “socialising.” One other point to keep in mind is the dissemination of information for example “sharing” and “retweeting.”
By “sharing” and “retweeting” you are condoning that information and are therefore a witness or a participant.
If you see something that you believe is questionable, question it. If you believe it should be escalated then you have the responsibility to report or remove yourself from the digital situation.
The same rules apply for business but naturally it is a bit more formal. Many companies now have social media policies that employees are obliged to sign. This is for the protection of the company and its reputation but also for employees. Again, the social media profiles of a company are the company.
No one or entity likes having their character brought into disrepute.
The examples we’ve given above still apply here but with a couple of extra considerations. Consider your tone when using social media. For example I have a dry sense of humour which is accepted in my office but if I was tweeting about my company working hours and someone in the London office, that doesn’t really know me sees it, they might think I’m complaining about it. That’s a mild example because we’ve all heard of what happens to people that say silly things about trips to Africa.
Another consideration when using social media is your personal status in a company. The lines in this matter have blurred slightly. For instance a team member might not be held to the same level of account as a CEO or line manager not only on social media but in your organisation as well. If you are a line manager and you are “friends” with your team members on social media consider that your posts could be taken as professional or personal at any time by these individuals.
Social media is still a means of communication. Communication hasn’t changed; it’s just how we do it that has. There is no dark art to it and we are most certainly not fear mongering. These are simply some considerations to help you better understand and avoid unnecessary issues for yourself and your business or company.
Our thought pattern when using social media is “If I wouldn’t say it out loud or to someone’s face, don’t say it on social media.”
We would love to hear your stories about your social media experiences in this regard. You can contact us here or on our various social media platforms.
P.s alcohol doesn’t mix well with social media.