You Better Think!

There are so many out there guilty of a Social Media faux pas that it seems commonplace by now. That alone makes it pretty much unacceptable for a Social Media professional to get on this naughty list. So to an even greater extent than the an’average joe,’ we need to think strategically before we hit the post button. I mean, we’re dealing with the World Wide Web, here people– if we let a fiery email cool off before hitting send, we should be doubly sure before sharing a post. Lots of misguided rhetoric may never reach the mainstream. Time and again, it’s shown that commentary likely to incite constituents often isn’t even worth the satisfaction found in those first sweet seconds after posting. (Enter the edit option on many sites now.) So if I had to craft a Social Media Code of Ethics, its guiding principle would be, “You Better Think!.”

First, let’s start with what not to do. Anyone representing a brand of mine would be asked to follow these tenets:

Business is Never Personal
When you’re representing a brand, YOU ARE REPRESENTING A BRAND. This should not be confused with representing self, or your personal beliefs. Rather, an agent of my brand(s) should always speak from the heart of the brand as opposed to his or her deeply held beliefs. In an ideal world, they’d be fairly aligned, but that’s not guaranteed in the business world.

Truthfulness is expected, but being purposefully Mean Spirited is Unacceptable
There are some who just don’t know how to fight fair. Let’s not be one of those people. Sure, you can put your own spin on anything you’re in charge of editing, but let’s not seek to hurt more than to inform.

When in doubt, remember the Brand!
It’s always imperative to consider in those last moments, as your finger depresses the ‘post’ button, will this ultimately help or harm the Brand? If the posting in anyway diminishes the brand, it is ill advised to continue with the posting. Ultimately, most brands want to be seen as cutting edge, evocative and sometimes even edgy. But nobody campaigns for the title of school yard bully. Let’s ensure we stay on a level playing field.

Unfortunately, there are some who got the memo regarding the folly of poorly-thought-out posting. Let’s hope these lessons don’t go unheeded.