It’s Not Personal When It’s Online

fb_img_1483730176469My biggest problem while posting on social media is my wonder spelling abilities.  To be honest, if it was not for spell check and Microsoft Word; I would have never made it out of college.  I have this habit of forgetting to add words to sentences, and misspell simple words.  Often the misspellings are worse by my phones autocorrect.  I once texted a friend “happy lubrication day” instead of happy birthday because I didn’t read over the post before I sent it.

I remember when I first started using Facebook.  I was one of the cool people because I was on this new thing called social media.  Now, almost ten years later Facebook is now considered the “old persons” social media.  Since social media has been around for so long the dangers of it are well publicized.  Examples of fraud and abuse are easy to find.  We should be careful with who and how we interact with people online.  The biggest pitfall in using social media isn’t other people coming after you, but you destroying your own reputation.  It helps to reflect on others social media failures, think about things to avoid, and look at how social media can be a tool for your success.  Several of these thoughts applies to any career or opportunity.

typingSocial media can be an amazing tool to connect with friends, family, and even network for future job positions and opportunities.  The problem is we must be careful to make sure we don’t post something that keeps us from getting that opportunity that we want.  A London research firm On Device Research found that “One in 10 job seekers between the ages of 16 and 34 have been rejected for a job because of something posted on their profiles.” (1)  Think of that statistic like this.  You baked 10 cookies for 10 people, but you throw out one because you burned it.  That means either you or someone you know does not get a cookie.

Social media fails are well documented because that are posted online forever.   Here are some examples of some recent social media fails.

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“A former colleague of mine posted about how he was going to use up all his sick leave then quit. He posted it at 9 a.m., and was told he didn’t have a job at 11 a.m.”

“A prospective employee at the company I work for had just passed his interview, and was told that all he needs to do is pass a drug test and a physical and he would start on Monday. Someone found the new hire on Facebook and the guy had just posted 20 minutes after the interview, ‘S—! Anyone know how to pass a drug test in 24 hours?!’”

“I work in a hospital and there was a police shooting in my area a couple of years ago. Multiple officers were brought into our ER. One officer was DOA and a number of idiot hospital employees posted condolences on their Facebook pages with the name of the officer before the family was officially informed. Seven or eight employees were rightfully fired for that one.” (2)

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The first two are obvious examples of failures by human beings not using their brains.  The third one was some people feeling bad for s situation that had happened, and wanted to express their sorry.  The problem was obvious in how they violated several health privacy laws (HIPPA).  They didn’t mean harm, but by not being careful they lost their jobs, and potential harmed their careers working in the medical field.

Our image can be destroyed in one moment by either a post done in jest or anger.  I remember when I was in my lateral entry training the team leading it had to discuss with us about voice mail greetings.  Apparently, so members of the cohort had voice mail messages with either inappropriate songs or messages that had foul language.  The leaders had to take an entire morning discussing what an appropriate message should sound like.  In this p
rogram, for you to get hired by a school at the end of the program the school had to hire you.  Their theory was, you could be a very qualified candidate, but be turned down because your voice mail portrays you poorly.

You always want to put your best image forward.  There are some basic ways we can do that.  The first thing is to not insult your school district, co-workers and school on social media.  “In fact, 28 percent of employers report that they’ve fired people for using the Internet for non-work-related activity (such as shopping online or checking out Facebook, for example) during the workday and 18 percent have dismissed employees because of something they posted on social media.” (3) Everyone has a bad day, and sometimes decisions are made that we do not agree with.  There is a time and place to express those opinions, and it is not Facebook and Twitter.  You might think your opinions are private, think again. All it takes is that one “friend” who screen shots and copies what you said, and shares it with your principal or district.  You might realize later that you shouldn’t have posted, and then deletefunny-office-clipart-1 it later.  It can still come back to haunt you, just ask Donald Trump.  All you do is Google “deleted Donald Trump tweets,” and you will find a collection of social media fails.  One example, he retweeted a picture about some former soldier who said he was voting for him.  Turns out he was baited and it was a photo of a man who killed his family.  The tweet deleted from his account, but has been saved forever by a simple screenshot. (4)

Be careful of what aspects of your life you share on social media.  Remember privacy on social media can be an illusion.  You might have a position now, but if you want that promotion later it could be hindered by a poor post.  You always want to present yourself in the best light possible.  Make sure when anyone tags you one social media, you have it ask for your permission before it shows in your timeline.

Stay away from social media while you are with students.  Especially if you are with younger children, your job is to insure their learning and safety.  Anything that distracts you from that should not be used.  Most schools don’t allow to use your phone while you are with students.  If you must look at it during school hours, don’t post anything when your schedule says you should be with students.  Time stamps can get you.

If you are new to the profession or working towards it, make sure you are already in the process of putting your best image forward.  Make sure your profile pic is tasteful.  Don’t be surprised if someone searches for you before they hire you.  This image might be the first time they see what you look like.  You need to have your email address be based off your name.  You can make a new one of you need to just for applying for a position.  Just like your profile picture might be the first time they see your face; your voice mail might be the first time they hear your voice.  You want potential schools to see you at your best.

Social media is a great tool.  This post has focused more on the negative side.  Here are some positive things about social media.

  • It is a great place to stay connected with current and former colleagues. You might need them for a job reference one day.
  • I have seen some great teaching ideas from others who shared. I remember one time I did a lesson I saw on Facebook, and my principal came in for an observation.  It went great.
  • You can also connect with people who you would not normally meet within your social circle.
  • If you have the right friends, it can also be a source of encouragement.

Social media is a normal part of our lives now.  It is like any other tool.  Use it properly, and you will see a huge benefit in your life.  Post the wrong thing at the wrong moment, it can crush you.  Think before you post.

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(1) http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20130626-can-social-media-get-you-fired

(2) http://people.com/celebrity/employees-who-were-fired-because-of-social-media-posts/

(3) http://www.cnbc.com/2016/02/05/how-using-social-media-can-get-you-fired.html

(4) http://politicschatter.com/politics-talk/slideshow/trumps-deleted-tweets/

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