Maybe this isn’t fair to Ralph Lauren, and for this we are deeply sorry, but people these days have a serious compulsion to use social media channels in a way that permeates their lives like wearing too much Obsession… you know, that mad addictive scent that you just have to wear.
So, how have Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other forms of social media become such an addiction?
See them all on SkyTrain, in their cars, at lunch, in nightclubs… all of them with their noses down pointing to their tiny little screens. They reek of overstimulation, checking in on their favourite celebrity, commenting on friend’s weekend partying fiascos, and sharing selfies.
A lot of people — including entrepreneurs and business owners — post numerous daily updates of their thoughts and activities. Society encourages people to use social media as a business marketing and social networking tool. All this sharing surrounds their online profiles like a cloud, like how too much cologne, perfume or patchouli permeates the space around them.
But there isn’t enough education on the discretionary use of information shared through social media. Did you know that competitors and adversaries routinely access and use information to advance their own agendas? Did you know social media posts can now be used in pre-trial discovery? Did you know that a significant amount of employers use social media for monitoring staff activities and for pre-screening job candidates?
Here are four ways to… let’s say, “wear your cologne more modestly”. Being more attentive to your social media post will help protect you from ending up in situations that you didn’t intend to be in. It is not advice, it is awareness.
1. Treat your social media posts like a public journal
I bet you didn’t know that lawyers for insurance companies routinely review the activities of personal injury plaintiffs to verify if their daily activities are consistent with the injuries that they allege they have. For example, if a plaintiff claims serious whiplash and soft tissue injuries to ICBC because they were rear-ended in a motor vehicle accident, but they spent the last long weekend snowboarding, sky-diving, bungee-jumping and partying in a mosh pit, they can pretty much kiss the chances of a healthy settlement goodbye.
2. Assume employers monitor all social media channels
Employers don’t just monitor prospective staff, they also monitor current employees. Employees have been reprimanded because that Monday sick-day was actually a recovery day or a continuation of their weekend debauchery.
3. Think twice about what photos or status updates you share
An employee was forced to resign after the employer saw pictures on Facebook showing her holding beer mugs and wine. Another employee was forced to resign after she updated her Facebook status that she wasn’t looking forward to another year at the job, and that residents of the community were ‘arrogant and snobby’.
4. If you’re in business, tailor your online profile to get the partners you want
Corporate brand reputation is an extension of your online identity. Potential business partners and clients will conduct due diligence on their service providers before they agree to enter into any type of long term business relationship. Individuals are responsible for managing their professional online identity, including the ways in which that professional identity connects to their personal identity and activities.
So, don’t douse yourself in too much Obsession… wear it tastefully in a way that doesn’t turn other people away. Be smart and exercise discretion before you post anything on social media. And remember: someone close is always paying attention to you!
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