I never knew much about Martha until after she got fired. Rumors about what this seemingly quiet, introverted woman posted on Facebook about the company ran rampant amongst my co-workers. ‘The boss was a self-centered jerk. Nobody did his or her job. Her real career goal was to become a famous photographer.’ All of these remarks were the antithesis of Martha, but allegedly the reasons why she was terminated.
Consequently, this event caused me to make a few changes on my own Facebook page. Why? Because I had to embrace a new reality sprung out of the 21st century – how people use social media matters. Standards, principals, regulations apply even to this form of interaction.
Six rules for using social media . . .
- Explicit pictures – Don’t try to get your sexy back on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. This kind of behavior is often offensive to individuals with small children or strong religious beliefs. Also, inevitably, the photos will be leaked to co-workers, friends and family causing unwelcome attention.
- Inflammatory language – Live by the golden rule; don’t say anything about anyone you wouldn’t want said about you. Also, approach subjects such as politics, religion and sex with caution. These are the three biggies that make or break relationships.
- Confessions of drug-use – Even if you reside in a state (like me) that has legalized the use of marijuana, understand that federally it’s still illegal. In addition, several businesses have policies against drug use and your divulgence of a habit can lead to jail-time or the loss of work.
- Family pictures – Loving portraits of your offspring, parents are spouse only improve your reputation. They show you are human and care about others.
- Words of encouragement – Most people welcome a ‘go-girl’ or ‘go-boy.’ Life is hard. Dealing with the challenges that come with it is painful. So, use your words in a helpful way.
- Stories of victory – What have you overcome lately? How? This type of info is inspirational to others making them want to read and re-read your testimony. Also, a nosy hr person sees this a bonus.
Back to Martha — surprisingly, I saw her around town a few months after she was let go. She was bitter, but reformed. The Facebook page that had gotten her into so much trouble had been amended. This unemployed worker learned the hard way that social media is not the proper platform for airing her dirty laundry – true or not.
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