We have a rule in our house: no electronics at the dinner table. The rules aren’t as clear balancing personal and professional social media though. We have all heard the crude version of “Don’t tweet where you eat,” so keep that concept in mind when aligning personal tweeting and your day job (aka, keeping your day job). As a supervisor, I have experienced awkward conversations with employees when their extra-curricular job hunting or late-night exploits reached my twitter feed.
I firmly believe you have to let your personality show through social media, whether you are funny, sarcastic, introspective, insightful or creative. It gives people insight into how you manage and the decisions you make.
Below are my 10 tips for keeping in line with your organization’s expectations of your behavior, and still enjoying social media and a paycheck.
- “Views are my own” – Writing this in your public Twitter profile doesn’t make it so. We represent our employers 24 hours a day, whether we choose to believe it or not.
- Tweet in the Light of Day – Clue-in your PR and communications team to your social media plans. Unless it’s their birthday, they generally don’t like surprises.
- Breaking News is Bad – Sharing breaking or confidential news about your organization is the role of your PR department. Keep it that way.
- Viral Doesn’t Mean Lollipops & Rainbows – One negative tweet about your organization can do more damage than the benefits of 100 positive ones. The word “viral” didn’t start as a positive term.
- Save as Draft – This works for Microsoft Word, Outlook and Twitter. If it’s a good idea now, let’s see if it’s still a good idea after sleeping on it.
- Tweet Delete Doesn’t Work – Don’t rely on it. Even if you delete, people have probably already seen it and possibly shared it. Depending on the severity, you may even want to admit the mistake and move on. (See Save as Draft above).
- Sports Commentating – it’s great you like the Lions, Tigers and Bears. Got it. I don’t and neither do most of your followers. The occasional shout-out is OK and fun, but I pay Comcast a lot of money to get ESPN to analyze sports for me. Exceptions are if you are a journalist and this is your job, or if you work for a sports property and you have a unique insight into the game or business.
- Live in a Green State (of Mind) – I live in a green state (insert Colorado joke here) as in dollars. It’s not a red or blue state. Why alienate half of your followers with your political or religious views?
- Just Unfollow Me – If people are offended by your tweets, then they will unfollow you. False. They are just waiting to see your inevitable train wreck.
- Social Media Footprints – The internet doesn’t forget and leaves a trail. You could get thrown out of an executive search before you even knew you were in it. A great rule to Tweet by is “If I wouldn’t want a current or future employer to see this, I won’t post it online.”
Follow me on Twitter – @mattfarrell_