It may come back to bite you

The rise of social media sites, Facebook, Myspace, Bebo and currently the fastest growing phenomenon, Twitter, means not only that the world is shrinking further still, but also that you need to be a little more cautious about what you write or say.

Think twice before you hit ‘send’ or ‘update’ or whatever they happen to be calling the button at the time, it may come back to bite you.

From emails to tweets, profiles to blogs, everything is archived, at least for a time, which means it is available to anyone and everyone. Just because you think your mother-in-law, boss or teacher is not web savvy doesn’t mean they won’t get to hear about what you say. Or the press.

A job applicant tweeted:

Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work.

He received a response to his spontaneous thought:

Who is the hiring manager. I’m sure they would love to know that you will hate the work. We here at Cisco are versed in the web.

How to lose a job in 140 characters or less. Not bad going.

Many companies now routinely check social websites, even the profiles of prospective employees, even if they don’t actually use such sites for their intended purpose.

An agency representative tweeted the following after arriving in Memphis to make a presentation to a large, influential and important client:

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!

Needless to say, the remark didn’t go down very well.

Whilst everyone should be entitled to their own opinion, you do need to be careful what you commit to print, as it were. Unless of course you don’t mind losing your job, family, friends or whatever. Just look at the instances where parties have been gatecrashed, and ruined, after too much information was posted on social sites.

There are a lot of people out there who are easily offended or whose sole purpose seems to be to pick up on any unwitting remarks, be it for vindictive purposes or maybe just to get a good story, so it pays to err on the side of caution.

A few of the more memorable pieces of advice floating around at the moment are:

  • Loose quips sink ships
  • Measure twice – cut once
  • If you wouldn’t say it to their face, don’t say it at all
  • Never write anything on the internet that you wouldn’t want written on your grave
  • Don’t write anything you wouldn’t want your mother to read
  • You’re not just talking to your friends when you use a social network
  • Always add: May I just take this opportunity to say I love the company I work for.
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