Think Before You Post
In my former life as an ad agency head I would always caution anyone who wrote a letter (pre PCs), or later an email, in the heat of anger to wait 24 hours and reread their missive before they sent it. Invariably they would either wisely revise it dramatically or not send it at all. We all become a little smarter when we slow down and think.
However there is an overwhelming seduction of the immediate communication of thoughts that the digital world allows. As we know, digital communications and social media allow us to post our comments and thoughts in real time in reaction to events as they unfold. There’s no “24 hour rule”. In fact timely posts to immediate events are most effective. Yesterday’s news is well yesterday’s news. However it’s the immediate reaction, without deeper thought, that gets many in trouble.
So my advice to us all is simple….think, think, think really hard before pressing enter or send. If you have any reservation at all, then wait and do not send. Because once you do, your thoughts however fleeting and sometimes idiotic (or worse) are memorialized forever. The errant comment can be a career stopper on a personal basis and even more broadly can crush a business.
Here are some simple guidelines:
1. Is your post an angry retort? If so, stop & don’t respond immediately.
2. Is your post sexist or racial? Pretty obvious you are treading in career ending waters here.
3. Does your post disparage your employer or a competitor? Not very bright. Might as well resign the next day.
4. Do you think you’re funny by using a double entendre with a vulgar connotation? You are not.
5. Are you posting a photo or video that shows you or others in an unflattering light? Don’t do it.
6. Are you posting naked photos of yourself or others? Do you need to read a blog post to know how stupid that is?
It’s hard to bring back the 24 hour rule of the “good old days” of thinking before you send, so it’s doubly important to pause because as we all know….The Internet Never Forgets.