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Public is the New Private

by | May 22, 2009 | Industry News & Trends

Want to be the talk of the office?

Want to be the talk of the office?

It’s Friday afternoon before a long, holiday weekend. How many of you will post something (pictures, a blog, a rant, whatever) about your Memorial Day exploits? How many of you have friends who will do it for you, while you are…errr…..indisposed? Unlike reality stars on TV (the jury’s still out on them), your misconduct reflects on you and not in a good way. People have been fired for leaking company info or abusing a sick day by calling in and then posting pictures of themselves seeking medical attention through copious libations. There’s a fine line between sharing and disrobing and you, your employees or your members do not want to be on the wrong end of that one.

Social networking is a great way to connect but let’s keep in mind some things our parents taught us:

  1. Don’t put your diary under your bed. Your brother will get it and read it. — common sense and known by every teenage (or younger girl) but somehow we forget that when we blog about personal things. If you don’t want people to know intimate details about you, send them in to that guy who’s collecting secrets, otherwise it’s public fodder.
  2. Keep making that face and it’s going to freeze that way – so maybe your face won’t literally stick but the jpeg you posted of last night’s party definitely will.
  3. Stupid is as stupid does (okay, so I stole that one from Forrest Gump’s mama) — there are professional social networks out there ( can offer your organization a darn good one.). Use them. Keep your social life on whatever site you want (although remember public for you means public for everyone) but keep it faaaaaaaaaaar away from your professional membership profiles. So turn down your boss’s friend request and invite her to link to your professional profile instead. Everyone will be happier. After all, there are just some images you CAN NOT get out of your head.
  4. If you fall down and break a leg, don’t come running to me — you’ve been warned, be careful.
  5. You better not let your mom hear you saying that (or seeing for that matter) — before posting anything imagine your dear, sweet mother, matronly aunt, grandmother, the cat lady next door, whomever looking over your shoulder to see what you’re doing. If that thought ends for you in having to call 911 to revive her, you may not want to post it. The Internet is instantaneous and even if you take it down quickly things have a way of being seen and just like some people, they are really hard to get rid of.
  6. This is going to hurt me a lot more than it will hurt you — nope, it’ll still hurt you bad but it might also hurt your employer, your credibility and your chances in the future. It’s more than just an embarrassing gaff, it’s a reason for action be it firing, not hiring or other non-happy off putting.  
  7. Two wrongs don’t make a right — don’t sling mud or hash out details of your last failed relationship on social network sites. You are not Jon and Kate plugging your new season (and you will not be compensated millions for the public embarrassment).
  8. Laugh it off — sure when the boss calls you in to reprimand you for speaking derogatorily about the prized client, you can laugh it off and you can also tell funny jokes to the men in blue when they escort you off company property. Cops like humor. 
  9. They’re just jealous, that’s all — don’t let that fool you. If people are talking about you on social networking sites, you’re either really cool or a giant joke. Hopefully you’ll have the wisdom to know the difference.
  10. You keep that up and I’m going to give you something to cry about — continue reckless social networking behavior and eventually your boss, your spouse, your friends, maybe even your dog are going to pretend they don’t know you and since some of that involves legal proceedings, I’d shape up.

Remember, if you have a professional life you would like to remain intact keep your overt sharing to forms of communication less visible than the Net. Try skywriting. After all, no one looks up anymore since we’re all busy texting.


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