Before signing up on social networking sites, we all have to agree on the terms of agreement even when we don’t read them.
As employees, there are actually more social media rules that we need to follow if we do not want to mess up our careers.
It’s not written in a guidebook and certainly not in our work contract, but there are social media rules that every employee must follow if they do not want to make a fool of themselves when they come back to their workplace. It may be hard to believe that employers go to the trouble of researching about you online, but they do and they do it regularly.
Don’t worry, these rules don’t impose on employees that they must always sing praises for their bosses nor do these rules force you to do something you’re not comfortable doing. In fact, the unwritten social media rules are pretty basic but often go over your head in times of emotional rage or drunken stupor:
1. Do not post criticisms about your boss or your company online.
When you’re frustrated or angry about anything related to work, try to stay away from your computer. Do not open Facebook, do not log in to Twitter. Your emotions are running high and there’s a 50% guarantee that you’ll say something that you’ll regret later. This is the worst thing you can do to get yourself in trouble. It’s not just bad in the eyes of your present employers but in the eyes of future ones, too. Don’t throw them under the bus just because you’ve been given a memo. Don’t bash them personally just because they didn’t like your work. Be a professional and take it in strides. If you have some issues with your boss or your company, learn to face it directly instead of resorting to ranting about it on social media.
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2. Do not upload drunken photos.
This may fall on the responsibility of your friends, but to be safe, don’t upload their drunken photos. Just be adults and realize that photos of you, passed out, sprawled on the bathroom floor is not a good image for employers. It may have happened years ago, but it’s still not something that’s good to see on your Facebook wall or blog. If you’ve uploaded them before, now’s the time to delete them and make sure they never land themselves in online sites again. Now, it’s not like you can’t post photos of you having fun. But there’s a clear difference between enjoying a part and making a mess after or during the party. Even you would think differently of your boss if you saw photos of them passed out drunk.
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3. Do not divulge company secrets.
You have signed a non-disclosure agreement and it’s only proper that you follow it in every aspect of your life, especially in social media. It’s not just in the details of your employment and company policies that you need to be discreet. Company plans and strategies should be strictly left in the office and has no place on your Twitter timeline. Don’t be the one to spoil the fun for everyone else. Most of the things you learn and hear in the office should stay in the confines of the office. It’s up to your judgment which information can be shared so be smart about it.
4. Do not devote time on useless online fighting.
To put it simply, don’t be a troll. Also, ignore the trolls. Don’t waste your time arguing endlessly and pointlessly about nonsense. Intelligent online discourse is always welcome, but if it starts to point towards the direction of citing flaws on grammar and personality, it’s not so intelligent at all. Don’t go for the fifth round, like what Guy Kawasaki said. If possible, don’t even go for the first round. Feeding the trolls shows immaturity. If they attack you personally, it’s best to ignore or block them.
5. Do not post anything you don’t want your boss to see.
Basically, just don’t post anything online that you know can get you in trouble. You must have the sense to discern what’s acceptable for a professional to share online. Be as expressive as you can be, just make sure that you’re not bulldozing over other people along the way. You can post those long essays of what you don’t like about the government, just make sure it sounds rational and not just pure hatred. Don’t hesitate to post candid shots of you with friends if it’s all innocent and not something that will make people feel awkward. And of course, make sure that what you post doesn’t reflect badly on you and more importantly, on your company.
Every employee is free to be active on social media. After all, most employers actually look for people who are social media savvy. However, employees must always consider staying professional in and out of the office, but most specifically, online.
Author: Dorothy Hunter is a traveler and blogger from NYC. She’s a freelance writer for websites such as bestessay.com.au but hopes to write for bigger publications someday.