29 January 2012

The Social Media Scrutiny

by Diane Carlisle

My husband and I had a discussion tonight about how social media has affected so many people, not just as a positive collaboration tool for the professional, but as a negative conduit into our personal lives. I thought this might be a perfect opportunity to reflect on how social media “should” be used and how you might want to consider your “brand” or self-product when presenting yourself to the world.

I’m not sure if you’ve had an opportunity to read about the police officer who posted a photograph of himself, posing with gun-toting, teenagers and an anti-Obama T-shirt. At first, I thought it ridiculous the scrutiny given by the Secret Service. But after further reflection, I realized that the police officer brought the scrutiny upon himself, didn’t he? I wanted to say to the police officer, “Where’s your judgment?” His lack of judgment is on display here, not any threat to the life of our President.

Another thing I’ve witnessed lately is the number of disgruntled workers who post about their “shitty” days at work. Um, do you know how many people are out of work who would love to have your job right now? Think about that for a moment.

Commenting about your dissatisfaction at work isn’t very appropriate, and Facebook and other social media are not the places to voice your dissatisfaction. Is it your right to speak your mind? Don’t you have the freedom to express yourself? Sure you do, but those whom you express your feelings toward have that same right, and their freedom of expression, accomplished through professional means, might not be helpful to you or your future.

If you have a problem with your employer, or even some personal issues that are making your life miserable, there’s nothing that screams you are a hazard to your work environment than a posted rant on Facebook.

If you’re feeling slighted at work for any reason, talk it over with a trusted co-worker or go home and sit down to a nice dinner and discuss these issues with someone who has your best interest at heart.

The fact that you have 500 friends on Facebook doesn’t mean that you have an Army ready to support your cause, whatever that might be. They won’t be standing by, ready to offer you a job when you are fired for calling your boss an asshole in your status. Do you remember that friend you added three years ago? She’s a friend of a friend’s mother whose daughter hangs out with your boss’s daughter.

I’m not saying to hide your true self. I encourage people to put their best selves in the public eye. If you feel that you have a great sense of humor and want to post pictures of yourself displaying your funniest faces, go for it! Just remember that your future, potential employers may be looking to hire someone a bit more serious.

Yes, you do have certain privacy rights. Social media is as private as you want it to be, such that the ultimate privacy is to not have an account at all.

Mine is just one, but I'd like to hear your opinions on social media's impact over what we believe to be our Constitutional Rights to freedom of speech.

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