If you are in your early career years, the online universe is second nature to you. After all, you’ve been posting, tweeting, and sharing for most of your life. However, your new role as an employee requires that you take a second look at this potent communication tool to ensure that you present your best self to your boss and colleagues.
Read Your Organization’s Social Media Policy
Be sure to read and follow your organization’s guidelines regarding what employees can and cannot post. Even if your organization doesn’t have an official social media policy, never assume that you are free to post whatever you’d like about your workplace. Asking your boss for permission before you post is always a smart idea. Revealing company news on social media without prior consent could end badly, including being reprimanded or fired.
Think Before You Repost
Did you know that a retweet, a share, or a repost is the social media equivalent of a personal endorsement? It’s like saying, “I like this person and support what she stands for.” Protect your reputation—online and at work. Before reposting or retweeting the content of a stranger, take a look at their online behavior to make sure that you are comfortable being associated with them.
Don’t Friend Your Boss
Think twice before connecting with your boss on non-professional social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Even if your workplace is casual, there are professional boundaries between employers and employees that are better not crossed. Think about it this way: Would you want your boss to see your Coachella posts? Or read about your family’s ongoing fight over who gets grandma’s 14-year old snoodle? I didn’t think so.
Beware of Auto-Correct
Take a moment to proofread your posts before you press the send button. No one will hold an occasional typo against you, but routinely posting content with poor spelling and grammar can make you look unprofessional, even if the mistakes really are the fault of your device’s autocorrect feature. Also, think about context. Without the help of vocal inflection, sarcasm and humor may not come across as intended, and your lighthearted comment, taken the wrong way, could make you look mean, rude, or insensitive.
Remember There Is No Spoon
Just like Spoon Boy reminded Neo in the classic movie The Matrix that the spoon he was bending with his mind didn’t exist, I am gently reminding the young professionals who are reading this post that privacy on social media platforms doesn’t exist. Your social media platforms have privacy settings, but anything you post on social media is no longer private. Even if shared in a private group, the post is still on the internet, which isn’t private. Always remember: Anything that you post online, even in a private group, can be shared. Before you post, be sure that you are comfortable with anyone, including your employer, seeing the content.
For More Business Etiquette Tips
Stayce Wagner is the author of Modern Business Etiquette for Young & Fabulous Professionals, available at Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, and other major outlets. Stayce is the founder of Spencer Crane Etiquette, LLC, where business etiquette and authenticity are partners, not rivals. Our many services are designed to help you to achieve success on your terms. We invite you to contact us today to discuss how we can help you with your business etiquette needs.