Lies, Damn Lies, And Social Media – Maintaining Your Reputation Online

Baltasar Gracian quote about lies

We shared an incredible article on our Facebook page this week entitled “Criminals Who Were Caught Posting On Social Media“. Incredible because it is hard to understand how these people could be so stupid.

And yet….whilst it is easy to mock these idiotic social media postings, making mistakes online is as easy as clicking a button. For those in the article it lead to being caught for their crimes – for you as a business it could lead to your reputation being destroyed in a single tweet; or for you as an employee, the end of your career.

The line between updating your social media as a business and posting as a person is becoming as watery as a rainbow – to get social media “right” and to be a success as a brand online you need to demonstrate your human side. We’re not talking about the social media manager who has accidently posted to the wrong account here (another blog post in its own right), we’re talking about forgetfulness – forgetting that when you tell a lie in real life you need to ensure you don’t then counter-act that with a social media update.

Take this example – a real life example: I was one of the lucky ones to get tickets to the last Brighton SEO Conference and that meant that I had to be up at illegal o’clock to get my client’s updates sorted before I left. Our fabulous local radio station run a hashtag every weekday morning which, if you use in your tweet to them, they then not only retweet but sometimes read out live on air.

So, there I am, sipping my morning coffee, browsing though Twitter, and I reply to @JuiceBrighton along the lines of “Good morning! Off to @BrightonSEO this morning #earlydoorsclub ”

Meanwhile, some of the Dolphin crew are already onsite, installing CAT5 network cables in a central Brighton location and listening to Dan and Hana on the breakfast show – and Hanna reads out my tweet, live on air.

In this instance there was no problem – everyone knew I was going to the conference; but just imagine if I’d said I was off somewhere else…..

Making mistakes whilst using technology can be company and career destroyers – that email bad mouthing your client from hell that you accidently send not to your colleague but to that client from hell; telling the boss you are sick and then uploading the pictures of you at Alton Towers; letting emotions get the better of you and engaging with the viscous troll on Twitter under your company Twitter account – these are all things that are done at the click of a button.

How do we stop these things happening then? We could follow Mark Twain’s advice, ““If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” But that doesn’t cover everything, and much as I loathe telling lies sometimes they are less harmful, both to the recipient and for the sake of customer relations, than being telling the whole truth.

The old road safety campaign, Stop, Look and Listen can serve us today in our digital world: take a moment before you send anything online – and if you have the slightest inclining of doubt then just don’t send it.

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