Over the last few years, social media has become an increasingly huge part of our lives. Most of us know how to use Facebook and even Twitter; so why do so many people still get it so wrong?
We’ve all heard stories of people getting fired because of something they’ve posted on Facebook or an embarrassing video going viral on YouTube, but just what should you think twice about before clicking the send button?
- If you’re pulling a sickie, stay off social media. It sounds obvious, but you’d be amazed how many people will call in sick to work, then head off to a gig or out drinking and post updates and photos of their day. You may not be friends with your boss, but it’s a small world and chances are this will eventually get back to them.
- Don’t complain about work. If your boss is constantly reading posts revealing that you’re bored or angry with your job, or even them, they aren’t going to be happy. In some places this is actually grounds for dismissal. Find out if your employer has a social media policy and stick to it.
- Think twice about which photos of your friends you share. Just because you’re comfortable parading your bikini photos on Facebook, or uploading endless pictures of your kids, that doesn’t mean that everyone else is. Avoid unflattering photos too, especially if the subject is a girl. Trust me; they won’t thank you for it.
- Twitter rants are public. You might get carried away complaining about the service you received in your local restaurant or bitching about the cast of the latest reality TV show, but there’s a good chance it could be seen by that person or business. What will you do if they reply?
- You can be arrested for comments you make online. Threatening someone publicly is most likely to get you into trouble, but revealing details of an ongoing legal case is a no-no and claiming that a particular celebrity is having an affair might get you sued for libel.
- Stop posting enigmatic or depressive comments. Writing status updates like ‘Why does nobody care?’ or ‘Worst day ever’ just makes you look desperate for attention.
- Avoid spam. You might enjoy whiling away the hours playing Farmville or Buggle on Facebook, but if you constantly send out invites to your friends you’re going to annoy them.
- Nobody likes a braggart. If you’ve just completed a marathon three hour gym session, good for you. But if you feel the only way to validate this experience is to show off about it on Facebook, step away from the computer. The same applies to endless updates about how adorable your children are or your latest luxury holiday/purchase. People don’t mind the occasional share, but you don’t have to go on about it.
- Don’t drunk dial. It might be hilarious to fire off nasty comments to your ex after a few drinks, or post photos of your mate passed out naked on the toilet, but you probably won’t be laughing quite so hard in the morning.
- Stealing is wrong online too. You might think it’s okay to copy a funny photo you’ve found on the internet and share it on your own profile, but be careful as you could technically be breaking copyright law. If the content isn’t yours, it always pays to give credit to the person it belongs to, or get their permission to post.
- Internet content lives forever. If a status update or photo might come back to haunt you in the future, don’t post it. Search tools are always evolving and with Facebook Graph Search about to arrive, you might want to reconsider the privacy settings on some of your older content.
Nobody is perfect and we all make questionable comments on social media at one time or another. But be aware of the things that annoy or upset people and you’ll find yourself getting a lot more positive comments and likes from your friends and followers.