Five Tips Friday: What Not To Post to FacebookWe will not be surprised if you disagree with some of our points today. There is a wide variety of opinions about how professionals should (or should not) handle their Facebook worlds. Many people feel that when you start a Facebook account, it is your personal space in the online world and you can post whatever you want. If some people find that your content makes them uncomfortable or otherwise makes them feel negative, you feel they can simply unfriend you and then they will not be troubled.
Our advice is that if you mention your company name in your “about” section, it is best to consider that you are “on the clock” whenever you post to Facebook. Essentially, incorporating your employer into your bio means that you are in a way representing them online. That means that what you post, even if it is after hours for your company, still could reflect poorly on you as a professional and on your company as a whole.
1. “Oh my goodness I am SO busy” updates
There are two general issues that this kind of update can raise. First, if you are truly busy, it can be very difficult to break away, sign in to Facebook, and then note how busy you are. If you have time to post such an update, people might wonder if you really are busy or if you are just trying to exude an image of being busy, hence successful. The other issue is that if you are *supposed* to be busy completing something, a client or customer may wonder why you are taking the time to post to Facebook. There was an incident a few years ago where I was waiting for some feedback from a contact of mine. I wasn’t hearing anything, but on Twitter I saw the person checking into restaurants and all sorts of other places via Foursquare and posting lots of other items as well. When I see someone posting to social media accounts while I am waiting on them for professional reasons, it makes me wonder how committed they truly are.
2. Detailed information about your kids
This is not for professional reasons but rather for safety reasons. I have seen parents check in to foursquare at their kids’ bus stop, for example. Alerting strangers to where and when you drop off your kids is simply not safe in this day and age, no matter how locked down you think your online accounts may be. Many parents even refrain from using the full name of their children online.
In my own world of Facebook it has become common to see pictures of scratches, cuts, wounds, rashes, and more. I have always called this the “colonoscopy rule.” You probably would not, in most cases, give a detailed description of your colonoscopy to a client or a prospect. The same logic can hold true for the online world. You never know who might be reading your updates. Avoiding the possibility of really grossing someone out is probably best.
4. “How drunk am I” updates
This kind of update tends to reveal itself most during conferences. People will post pictures of themselves acting “wild and crazy.” There is nothing wrong with having a good time, but again, it is important to remember that as long as your employer is mentioned in your “about” section, you are always “on the clock” when you are online. If you wouldn’t tell a client how drunk you got over the weekend, you probably should not post updates or pictures along those lines to your Facebook account.
5. I hate my job/clients
This one should go without saying, but for some reason, we run into a lot of people who use Facebook to complain about their jobs or their clients. People might rationalize this by saying, “My account is private, no one would see that kind of update.” This is a risky way to live in the online world. You never know who might be seeing your content because of a friend connection you may not know about. Moreover, updates can always be copied and pasted into emails or other forms of communication without you ever knowing. If you wouldn’t say something directly to a boss or a client, it should not be posted to Facebook.
What is your take on this issue? Are there things you will not post to Facebook or do you believe it should be “anything goes”? We’d love to hear from you!
Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/smemon/4646164016/sizes/ via Creative Commons
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