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Social media allows users to connect with friends who live far way, distant family and former classmates, share pictures and stories of their lives. It is a way for people to share accomplishments as well as tragedies. Social media has also grown in the business world as a method for advertising, tracking customer comments and promoting products or services. As many benefits as social media has, there are also significant drawbacks. These negative aspects can lead to job loss, embarrassment and ruined reputations.
Employers are Watching
There are many horror stories through news media and other online sources of people being fired due to comments they made on social media. Employees who call in sick or claim a family emergency who then post photos of themselves at social events report job loss when a co-worker or supervisor views the photo. People who post negative comments such as “I hate my job” or “got paid to watch movies today” can lead to firing should a supervisor view the posts. Therefore, it is important to remember that even with the privacy settings available on most social media sites may not completely protect the user from a co-worker providing negative information to a boss or a supervisor coming across the information on their own.
Often, people post photos on social media of private or public gatherings that they want to share with others. The photos may be perfectly innocent, yet everyone has a photo or two of themselves that are unflattering or that they want to title “This is not how it looks”. When a social media site notifies you that a friend has tagged you in a photo, view the photo immediately to see if there is anything that could affect your reputation. Even things that are perfectly legal and innocent can affect you negatively, including drinking alcohol or suggestive poses. In most cases, privacy settings can block those you do not authorize from seeing photos, but once a photo is tagged in an album or on a site, every photo in that album is open for all your friends to view, including those you are not tagged in that may be even more unflattering. Untag any photos that may be viewed as inappropriate. If the photo is not one you would display in your home or on your desk at work, it is probably best to remove the tag.
Another way that social media can affect a reputation is the use of disrespectful comments to others. If you are having a disagreement with a friend, family member or co-worker, social media is not the place to voice that disagreement. Think of social media the same way you would your office or a department store. Most people would not air differences with foul language and screaming at the office or in a public setting. Therefore, it is critical that you keep those types of subjects off social media sites. Most social media offers private message or chat sections where disagreements can be resolved without displaying the entire situation to everyone on the site. If someone posts negative comments on your wall, simply delete the comment and send a private message requesting that they address those types of comments privately rather than publicly. If they refuse, block them and move on.
“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently”. This quote by Warren Buffett sums up how social media must be viewed, especially by those whose employment or public perception could be negatively affected if their social media persona is not handled properly. If your reputation has been negatively affected by social media, consider contacting reputation.com, a professional service that offers assistance to those whose reputation may have been damaged due to social media or other factors.