When used effectively, social media is a tool that can give you opportunities that you didn’t even know were available. However, if you are not careful, it can also get you into trouble. Here are some examples of how inappropriate use of social media can actually cost you your job:
Using social media at work. Your employer is very aware of the fact that social media can be a nasty time thief. At many workplaces, the use of social media is strictly forbidden. Unless social media is part of your job, keep off those sites at work. Even if your manager doesn’t actually see you posting status updates, many workplaces have software that allows the manager to observe and record what is on your computer screen. Also, don’t forget that everything that you post online is time stamped.
Posting inappropriate content. Some people seem to forget that social media is public. The content that you post says something about your values and the kind of person that you are. When you post something that is offensive or inappropriate, you may cause your employer to question whether they want to continue working with you or if they really want you representing the company.
Criticizing your employer. Had a bad day at work? Mad at your manager? Step away from the computer! There is a very good chance that whatever you post online will reach your manager’s eyes. If you have a legitimate complaint, then use the proper channels to address it professionally. Otherwise, just have a glass of wine with a friend and vent (offline).
Posting updates about your job search. If you are looking for a job while you are currently employed, you need to be discreet. You may think that you are just talking to your friends, but when you post it online, you have no control over how far it goes. Once your manager discovers that you aren’t committed to the organization, you may notice that they quickly lose interest in you.
When you are sitting in front of your computer, it is easy to feel safe. We get caught up in the moment and post things that we know we probably shouldn’t. In most cases nothing will happen, but if you post the wrong thing at the wrong time, you might suddenly find yourself out of a job!
(Written by: Karen Bivand, Image Courtesy of bplanet at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)