We’ve all done it: you get to work, sit down, and check what’s happening on Twitter or Facebook before getting down to business. Sometimes we even post a quick status update about how much we “Hate Mondays” Or we “Thank God It’s Friday!” Most companies are vague with their policies about the use of social media outlets, simply stating to not give out confidential info or trade secrets. Therefore, here are a few useful tips for you to navigate through the complicated world of social media etiquette in the workplace.
You have several friend requests from co-workers or your boss. This is tricky. While you don’t want to upset the natural balance or offend anyone by ignoring a request, you have to keep in mind, just how much do I want them to know about my personal life?
There are times that we naturally become friends with some of our co-workers because of the amount of time we spend with them throughout the week. But, it is also possible that another co-worker or your boss sends requests with ulterior motives, trying to dig up dirt that can be used it as ammunition in the future. If you do decide to accept a request, make sure you watch the things you are posting. You don’t want your boss to see photos of you downing shots and stumbling all over at your annual employee Christmas party, or a photo of you at the beach when you called your boss to tell her you’re deathly ill and couldn’t possibly make it into work today.
We all get angry at one time or another over something that happens at work, such as getting passed up for a promotion, a raise, or your boss just having a bad day and taking it out on you for the third time this week. Facebook and Twitter are hotbeds for airing your personal feelings, but this is not one of those times, especially if you ARE friends with co-workers or your boss on social media. You never want to rant about how horrible it is to work for so and so, or how awful your job is or how you don’t get paid enough to do everything they ask of you. It is best to just keep those feelings to yourself or you may end up on the unemployment line. Once you post complaints or negative comments online, they are there forever for anyone to see.
While I've touched upon a few things you should NOT do on social media, there are also some positive things you can post to put you in a good light. Many companies employ social media to build brand awareness and they encourage employees to use their personal contacts and social media profiles to spread word-of-mouth about special events, sales, and even recruitment opportunities. I previously worked for an employer who put me in charge of posting pictures and status updates for the company’s Facebook page, after one of my co-workers saw my profile and thought that I was the perfect candidate to get the buzz they needed to build interest and attract prospective buyers. This is an example of how social media can be used to your advantage, as well as to that of your employer. It’s a win-win situation.
Social media is an unavoidable platform that is here to stay. If you have any doubts on whether to post or not to post, just keep this in mind: when in doubt, play it safe and don't post.
Keep it classy, someone is always watching.
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