Last week, a story made its way on social media about a couple breaking up on an airplane. A fellow passenger tweeted the play-by-play, photos included. Clearly, she thought it was funny to expose the indiscrete, drama-filled behavior of strangers. Putting aside the inappropriateness of the couple airing their dirty laundry in public – the timing and location of their breakup was most unfortunate - did the tweeter realize how bad it made her look? She thought their behavior was shocking and inappropriate so she decided to expose it – to publicly shame them for their lack of decorum.
But in so doing, she also revealed her own poor judgment and behavior. She showed that she thinks it’s ok to publicize things that are none of her business, that she has little regard for privacy and that she takes delight in the self-inflicted misfortunes of others. Granted, the couple was in public and was airing their dirty laundry. But does that give others the right to further amplify someone’s faux pas so the entire world can pile on and pass judgment? These are definitely not personal brand-enhancing actions. Her own personal brand may have gone down a notch or two in the eyes of others – think friends, family, and colleagues, as well as present employers and future ones too. Every time a potential employer does an Internet search on her, this story will be a part of her narrative.
It is important to remember that your actions define your personal brand - including actions done on supposedly private social media. Because of your privacy settings you may think you are only joking with a few family members and friends but there is no guarantee that it will remain private. What you do on social media matters and before you post, tweet, share, text you should ask yourself, "Am I OK with this potentially going to a broader audience." Be marvelously well-mannered and be kind to others in person and on social media.
Have a marvelous week - Catherine