There are dozens of examples from every job field. Someone said something thoughtless, crude, rude, or some kind of “ist” and got caught doing it, and got lots of bad PR. When posting something, regardless of where or when, you need to consider the world you are entering into. There are no boundaries here. It doesn’t matter if what you’re posting is on a “Personal Account”. If it can be connected to your name, people can find it. Everything you put out there combines to create an internet persona, a picture people have of you.
This picture has its limitations. The internet is like a permanent first impression. There are no smiles, shadings of tone, pleasant voices, or any other mitigating factors to make up for the solely text based impression of what you say. What can affect this?
Do you post a lot? Even different, substantive posts? Send out a lot of emails? Be careful that you don’t come across as a spammer. Nothing will turn people off faster.
Do you post a lot about personal matters? There’s nothing wrong with sharing things with your friends and co workers, but consider how some of these things might look to potential clients or business partners. Pictures matter.
Do you have a lot of strongly held beliefs? Again, nothing wrong with this, but think about whether you’d be willing to turn down work because someone saw you upholding said beliefs with strong words.
Watch your language! I’m not only talking about cursing, but also about poor spelling, sentence structure, punctuation, and so on. I know phones are horrible about this with autocorrect, but take all the care you can to keep your impression as an intelligent adult. Also, name calling, any kind of name calling, is dangerous. No matter whom or what you are calling a name.
I’m not going to tell you to say, or not say anything. That’s up to you. However, it’s important to consider the impact of your words, not just now, but also when people find them in the future. Try and consider another person’s perspective upon reading what you’ve written. You have a phenomenal advantage when putting things online, you can look at what you’ve written before hitting send, or post! Don’t waste it!
Next week: Although Winne the Pooh is pretty awesome, his buddy Eeyore is not someone you should be imitating.