The DailyFinance posted an article by Anthony Massucci about how social media may be making us less social — as in, we’re afraid to do or say anything that might end up on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc.
In some cases, Massucci is correct.
If you cause trouble in your neighborhood, your bad behavior could end up on RottenNeighbor.com — your neighbor can film video of you and post it to this site. Yikes!
Or, a customer can record a customer service call that puts your company in a bad light and post it to the Internet — as AOL learned much to its chagrin.
Or even worse, your “off the cuff” (re: off the record) comment can become the shot heard ’round the world — as President Obama learned when he called Kayne West a jackass.
As Massucci points out, our behaviors can easily be recorded by others and posted for all to see/hear. So it pays to follow some common sense behaviors when it comes to social media:
1. THINK before you post — Platforms like Twitter and Facebook let you express yourself (and easily become addictive). You really don’t want to post that you’re leaving for vacation. Nor do you want to post that snarky comment about a customer.
In fact, I make it a policy to never post anything about customers unless I have their express permission to do so.
You’ll also want to keep TMI (too much information) posts to a minimum — as this information can come back to haunt you in terms of lost contracts and/or lost jobs.
2. Limit phone use in public — I’m rather amazed at how much *business* information I overhear from people talking on their mobile phones in public.
Because we can become so absorbed in the conversation, we don’t “see” the people around us (nor do we know them usually). So we gab away, and in the process we let out confidential information that by-standers can easily pick up — and use against us.
True story: my lawyer friend’s firm won a negotiation because one of the partners overhead the lawyer for the other side talking about the deal on his cell phone on the train. Her firm now has a policy that no one is allowed to discuss client cases on the phone in public.
3. Practice good old fashioned manners — I do think that social media and the Internet have made us all a little more rude. Graciousness seems to have been fallen by the wayside. Where we used to send lovely hand-written thank you notes, we can now SMS — “Thanks for dinner!”
Bad manners includes yelling at sales clerks, screaming at people while driving, and posting nasty comments to blogs under assumed names.
One thing I’ve committed to of late is being nice — to everyone. I tell the front desk people at the gym “thank you,” and “have a nice day.” I let drivers go ahead of me. I wait patiently while sales clerks wait on those ahead of me. I compliment other business owners on their marketing.
The benefit of this good cheer is that it makes me feel better — and people respond in kind.
It also means my bad behavior doesn’t end up on a social media site somewhere.
What do you think? Has social media made us more rude? Do we need to me more careful about how we present ourselves in public? Do you worry that your behavior at a party will end up on someone’s Facebook page?
Let me know!
(Hat tip to Dr. Helaine Smith (client) who sent me the DailyFinance article.)