Smart social networking can help you build a positive online reputation and find success in your job hunt. If you’re not careful, though, it can also ruin your good name and book you a spot in the unemployment line. People lose their jobs over inappropriate Tweets and Facebook pictures more than you might think. Here are some tips for how to not get fired for social networking on Twitter and Facebook, and how to keep your online activities from damaging your professional reputation.
Think before you post.
It’s common for employees to be friends with their bosses on Twitter, Facebook and other social networking sites. Even if your boss is also your buddy, think carefully about what you share with your manager. Pictures with the family over the holidays? Sure. Pictures with old fraternity brothers at Mardi Gras? Not so much.
Privacy settings can help. Facebook, for example, allows you to specify which of your friends can see certain parts of your profile. It’s up to you, however, to take the time to learn how they work. (A little discretion never hurts either.)
Complain at your own risk.
Like baseball and apple pie, complaining about your job is an American pastime. Still, there’s a time and place for everything. If your boss was within earshot, would you whine about how underappreciated you are or how you’re thinking about a different job? Probably not. Posting your gripes on the Internet isn’t far off from that. Always assume that what you post online will make its way back to your boss. Keep this in mind as you learn how to not get fired for social networking on Twitter and Facebook.
Sick days are for colds.
If you call in sick to work, make sure you’re actually sick — not waiting in line for that new video game or nursing a hangover.
If you must lie about being sick, however, don’t let the cat out of the bag on Twitter or Facebook. Remember: If you were really out with the flu, you’d be nursing a bowl of chicken soup and probably not surfing the Web. Nothing makes bosses madder than finding out that they’ve been scammed.
Don’t feed the trolls.
If someone is flaming your company in a forum or on a blog, you might feel like it’s your duty to defend the company’s honor. But before you pick a fight, ask yourself this question: “Am I allowed to respond publicly on my company’s behalf?”
If you aren’t trained to deal with sticky PR situations, you might end up making your company look worse. Your better bet is to call your boss’s attention to the issue so that you can work together to solve the problem.
Protect your passwords.
The modern workplace uses the Internet to manage a lot of information. But with this increased efficiency has come increased security risks.
You share presentations and internal documents in your emails and keep in touch with coworkers through instant messaging. If an outsider were to gain access to one of these accounts, they might expose a wealth of sensitive information about your company. If you don’t take your cybersecurity seriously, your boss probably won’t take you seriously either. Know how to not get fired for social networking on Twitter and Facebook, by keeping your password protected.