Are you SURE you want to post that?
This should be the last thing you should say to yourself before hitting “Post.” I know, I know, the topic has been covered ad nauseam. But, yes, it really matters.
For the past three years I’ve indulged in an “unplugged” stay in Mexico—not because they do not have the infrastructure, they do—because it is a lovely country and I enjoy the people, sights, experiences, and FOOD! (and—yes, Mexican wines can be quite nice-for a price!)
This year, upon my return, I plugged back into Facebook and found my stream flooded with post after post of links to pabulum—insipid, simplistic, and frankly bland content. (How could I have missed that pre-break?) Well, this realization led me to conclude that it’s just way too easy to hit send/link/post 3rd party opinion pieces or rehashed, divisive political dribble without adding value or anything resembling a human conversation.
This does not endear me to you. This does not make me want to do business with you. This makes me think you are a puppet. This does not even want me to be your “friend” on Facebook. (Hmmm…now there’s an idea. Maybe it’s time to cull the troops.)
I admit, perhaps it is a statement about the “friends” I have. (Apologies to those FB friends who are genuinely engaging! And there are many. Family gets a pass.) Still, for the most part, I personally know all my Facebook friends. They are either professional colleagues, people I went to school with, friends of my kids, or people I know or have met in real life today. As this is the case I know that many of these insipid postings are not what we would be talking about in face-to-face conversation. Why do they post that stuff? Because they really care or they feel free, unaccountable, bored? I’m not trying to psychoanalyze, just sayin… Well, okay, I admit to sharing a video of Whitney Houston singing “The Greatest Love,” but I’m not talking about that kind of stuff. I like to know that you know we’re all sad when an artist passes. I’m talking about stuff that is not only insipid, but is also is potentially divisive and polarizing. That’s just not…well, polite.
What happened to “politics and religion are not polite” social conversation in casual relationships—which is how I categorize most of my “friends” on Facebook. Did we loose our manners in the face of Facebook?
Political musings about protesting this, that, and the other thing do nothing to lure me into a more fulfilling, or in the case of business, productive, relationship.
Note to self.
If you are at all interested in using social media to build business relationships, do not get sucked into the trap of feeling free just because its easy to click Post. EVERYTHING you post tells something about you. EVERY post you make is potentially building your professional platform, your brand and your future!
Is it okay to talk about your family, yes! Is it okay to share photos of your pets, your vacation, your best friend’s wedding, yes! Is it okay to share a link and add a comment that has the potential to add value to your network, yes! Is it okay to have fun, yes! Is it okay to broadcast controversial positions? Only you can decide. Is it okay to post something best left unsaid? As the old Microsoft slogan goes…”what do you want to do today?”
My Unsolicited Advice?
Social media has become mainstream. People will talk. Don’t give them something to talk about. It can ruin your day or your career.
Guard your reputation as if it were your life! Hey, it is your life! And, one final note, if I see you posting to Facebook a lot, like all day long, I’m going to think–hey, you need a life.