What the recent avalanche of comments posted on social media about Brexit has highlighted is the need to Think Before You Post. Why:

  1. You are Publishing – if you are on public social networks, be that Twitter, Facebook, Instagram (as opposed to limited/private groups networks such as Snap Chat or WhatsApp) you are publishing something that is a permanent record of your comment for anyone to use at anytime to make a judgement about you. I always think of it as “would I like what I am about to write published in the local newspaper”
    You are inviting comments back which you may not like – there are normally always two sides to any argument and you need to expect something being added to your comments you don’t like. I saw this last week someone complaining about someone posting a negative comment on their post?, well what did you expect?, you had your Public opinion they are having theirs. The rule is whatever is said – do not enter into an argument or a fierce debate, let it pass.
  2. Are you qualified to comment? – if you have a track record in a subject, its part of your job, you’ve written about it etc, then you are qualified to comment, if you have scant knowledge then you may just be making yourself look ignorant.
  3. Remember its hard to separate home from work online – no matter how much people fight being a different person at work than at home, we are actually just the one person. In fact one of the keys to success on social media is that we are ourselves and show a human side. So again with the “Think Before You Post” mantra we need to assume that people at work will see our comments.
  4. Keep off the topics of Politics of Religion – something we learn very early on in our adult life to steer clear of at social dinner parties. Why because people have very strong views and opinions and can easily offend. So I personally apply this rule to social media. It makes life easier and I keep more friends that way.
    Its interesting that although “Think Before You Post” forms a major summary statement in many of the
  5. Corporate Social Media Guidelines we have seen, many seem to have been forgotten over the last couple of weeks. Social media has empowered us all to become armchair journalists, however with much power (being able to reach people across the world through the internet) comes much responsibility or rather a personal responsibility to “Think before you post”.

End of lesson – of course you are free to comment/add value to this list.

This blog was first published by Bob Barker on LinkedIn. Follow Bob for more posts on Social Media and Digital Skills.