As bloggers, everyday we put our personal thoughts, and by extension, our personalities out for the whole world to see in a very public forum – the internet. Some of us even cross-link our social networking accounts ie: Facebook, LinkedIn, Youtube, Flickr, and Twitter to our blogs. (Yes – I’m guilty too). Thus, with a little digging, our true identities are easily revealed by internet savvy friends, family, disgruntled ex-lovers, current employers & potential employers. As much as we’d like to think the internet is anonymous, it truly isn’t. Anything we post can be found – and not always found by the right people. This leads me to the question:
How much thought do you put into what you share while online?
I don’t mean your identity – credit card numbers, social insurance numbers, etc… I’m sure we’re all very conscious about sharing that information. What I mean is: Do you think twice about tweeting about what your child’s teacher wore to school today? Or about the executive who was stinking up the bathroom stall next to you this morning? Or about your idiot client who just doesn’t get it?
Yeah, yeah, yeah – they can’t find you…
Did you know there are sites such as: yoname, wink, spokeo and pipl where you can enter an email address and find out every social networking site that that particular email address has ever registered for? (Spokeo generates by far the best results – tried it on myself). So take for instance, that my hubby sends me an email to my personal email address from work. Well guess what? Now his employer has access to everything I’ve ever said online. Maybe you’ve emailed your own boss from home to say you’re going to be late for work or will be staying home sick? Well guess what? Now your boss can find out what you say about them online. Have you ever emailed your child’s teacher? Think about it….
Brand protection and reputations are serious issues for companies – and they spend big bucks paying companies to research social networking sites. They use google, twitsearch and other social networking searches to find out what their customers are saying about them. Social Networking is a great tool, and a great way for them to find out what their customers and clients want from them, how they feel about them etc. However, social networking is also a great tool for them to find out what their staff, the staff of their suppliers, and the staff of their clients are saying about them – even if they don’t mention the names of the companies.
Yes – Big Brother is ALWAYS watching! (Trust me on this). So the next time you type up a blog post, send a tweet, update your Facebook or LinkedIn status, take a moment and consider what you’re going to say and think about who’s reputation you could hurt by it. Is it your employer’s? A friend’s? A family member’s? Or could it even be your own? Remember – no future employer will want to hire someone who bad-mouths people, or someone who’s spelling and grammar is atrocious.
Thanks for listening to my public service message, folks, and stay-tuned for tomorrow’s post in which I will write about how you can use Social Networking to boost your reputation.