Social media: Yes, it’s public

February 3, 2009

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I began my social media endeavor by using Facebook. Initially, I eagerly added photos, wrote on walls, updated my status, and commented on photos. This excitement came to a sudden standstill when my one of my relatives asked to be my friend via Facebook. A thought popped into my head, “If my family can see my page, what’s stopping other people from viewing my personal information?” Yikes!

Being public is one of the great qualities of social media, because it allows people to interact with almost anyone. It’s also a great way to build trust among organizations and their audiences. Participating in social media makes people vulnerable and susceptible to criticism.

Although this sounds great for people who use social media correctly, it can also be easily abused and lead to a disaster. I recently read a story about a PR account executive/vice president from Ketchum. This PR professional flew to Memphis to visit FedEx, one of Ketchum’s biggest clients. When he landed he posted on Twitter, a popular social media message board:

“True confession but I’m in one of those towns where I scratch my head and say, ‘I would die if I had to live here.’”

Unfortunately, someone from FedEx saw the post and reported it. Many employees who are from the area did not appreciate the negative remarks about Memphis.

This story, like many others, is exactly why I spend several minutes, if not hours, thinking about what to write on Facebook, Twitter, and especially my blog. I constantly think about who’s reading or viewing my social media pages and how the content will influence me in the future.

My advice: think about the impact of what you write, post, share, tweet, etc. You never know who’s watching.

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