The work skills of the future
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With the rise of social media come social media mistakes. Here is how to avoid them.

These social media mistakes are affecting your work CA Global Kirsten Jacobs

Social media has irrevocably altered our social world. Practically everything is online, which can be both a blessing and a curse. We spend  a large part of our personal lives on our various social media pages. We do thing like share a selfie from that wild night out on Instagram, and tweet our frustration about co-workers. We’ve all been there. Unfortunately, that stuff doesn’t just stay personal. By sharing on social media, there is the chance that it can impact on other aspects of our lives, including our work life. Because of this, it is incredibly important to take work into consideration when posting something new.

We’ve seen in the past how social media mistakes can cost someone a job, such as Penny Sparrow and Justine Sacco. To avoid this, here are the social media mistakes to steer clear of:

Bad-mouthing former or current employees:

For many, Twitter has become a venting opportunity to air out grievances. From that annoying work day, to that comment your boss made, it sometimes feels good to let it out. However, it is important to remember that employers often check your social media pages. If your online complaints got back to head office, it might affect your job standing. Often, companies have a ‘terms of conduct’ rule that stipulates that you may not publicly disparage the company, and if done, can lead to termination. Similarly, potential employers might not be impressed with you publicly complaining about your workplace, as it can suggest a lack of discretion or respect.

Making sexual/racist or other offensive comments:

As an obvious rule of thumb, offensive slurs should never be used, in both your personal life and your social media. Comments that can be considered sexist, racist or ableist should be avoided by all costs, and especially in the online sphere where they can become traceable. Companies are becoming more accountable, meaning that they are less lenient on offensive employees. As such, it has become more common for dismiss employees who make offensive comments that do not align with the ethos of the company.

Getting into social media arguments

The majority of employers would prefer their employees remain neutral on political issues in the online sphere. Because politics is often subjective, it is a topic that can easily land you in the danger zone with employers.  Try to avoid getting into online debates that allude to particular political leanings. This is specially for those holding high positions in companies, as it could suggest political bias and/or collusion.

Posting/online surfing while you’re at work

Social media activity should be restricted to work breaks only. Not only does it affect productivity, it can be seen as a lack of respect for the workplace and your employers. You definitely do not want your boss to catch you adding to your Instagram Story when you’re supposed to be working on that important task. Most social media sites time stamp your posts, so if an employer sees your post within 24 hours of it being uploaded, they can easily figure out what time you posted. This can reflect badly on your work ethic.

Posting inappropriate images:

Excessive partying and reckless behaviours, when captured online, can impact on your work standing. This may damage your credibility, and make employers less likely to take you seriously and hire you. Images containing alcohol should thus always be handled carefully. Try to avoid images of those black-out nights. Similarly, sexually suggestive images should also be avoided.

A good tip is to place yourself in the shoes of an employer and ask yourself how you would view someone if they did a particular thing on social media. If it is a negative view, it may be best to steer clear of that action.

Are these social media mistakes to avoid fair? Are there any other social media mistakes you can think of? Let us know in the comments below!

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The work skills of the future
The jobs of the future
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