Minding your Ps and Qs on Social Media.

Technology has become an integral part of our lives, particularly our use of social media. However, we must learn how to best utilize it. Whether we realize it or not, our use of social media has eroded our “right to privacy”, impacted our behavior and impacted how others - indeed the world - view us.

Social media’s immediate connection capabilities reveal to the world, depending on your point of view, our less than ideal selves - our flawed impulses and impetuous responses on one hand, or our true nature on the other.

Without the exercise of self-discipline, self-restraint and self-editing, social media will broadcast the stuff we say and do before we truly have a chance to think about it. Self-control allows us to show our best, true self (the one that is thoughtful and deliberate).

Facebook and Twitter are just a few of the few powerful platforms helping us connect to friends and families across town and across the globe. We can share thoughts, stories and photos in real time. But we must remember, these are public forums, notwithstanding the privacy settings we select. It takes one friend or friend of a friend to pass along a less than flattering post or tweet. Now not only do you have to deal with the fallout of friends and family judging you, you may have the entire world judging you as well.

Once something becomes public, it can never be private again. So, don’t over-share. Don’t put anything up that you wouldn’t feel comfortable seeing (or having your boss see) above the fold on the front page of the town newspaper or on a billboard. Think before you post or tweet – you cannot take it back.

Be careful posting and tweeting about work. Some companies have specific policies –read them. More and more, we are seeing companies take action against employees for inappropriate, brand-damaging after-hours posts and tweets on social media. With this in mind, don’t use profanity, don’t peddle in gossip, and don’t engage in mean, cruel behavior.

Rather, keep it upbeat. Don’t go on a rant. Watch the grammar. Be kind.

By deliberately choosing what you communicate about on social media you can reap all the benefits of technology without the risks. And when in doubt, don’t say it.

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