On Being Socially Aware

Further to my talk on activating My Sites at Share2012, and social media in general; I thought I’d expand on the importance of watching what you do when you play on social networks.

It takes a certain level of internet awareness to fully embrace social networking and media.  This does not just come naturally to people, it needs to be explained and taught.

When it comes to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn – you cannot just say whatever you want.  You are representing your company and yourself.  I saw two people on Facebook completely destroy their reputations and brands in two very irresponsible threads last week.

The one did part-time admin work for me, the other was my IT supplier – they are a couple.  It seems that my admin assistant was a victim of petty crime.  She decided that keeping her laptop on the front seat of her car was a good idea, needless to say it was stolen.

While I have the utmost sympathy for her experience as it is very traumatic – what I don’t have any sympathy for, was their reaction to the incident on Facebook.  I have never seen such revolting display of foul language and sheer hatred on a public forum towards an ethnic group and even towards their friends who defended that group!  I can’t even repeat the language and racism expressed as children could be watching.  Their reaction was way out of proportion to the incident and only served to very publicly display their prejudice and uninformed opinions.

I was one the verge of being able to hire her fulltime and have been grooming her for almost a year.  Instead I fired them both on the spot as this is not the type of culture I have in my company nor will I tolerate any bias towards any ethnic group for any reason.  It made me very sad to see young people with every luxury that life can afford them behave this way.  I will not have staff working for me who feel that way, and I will not do business with companies who feel that way.

If you are on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn – your clients, bosses, future bosses and colleagues are watching every word you say.  Don’t be stupid and say ugly things you are going to regret.  When you respond to a personal incident, remember that many eyes are watching, not just your friends and family.


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