While many of us are aware that it’s simply a matter of “good manners” and “common sense” to be careful what we say and how we say it when we are dealing with others in person, these unspoken social norms seem to get tossed aside by many of us when we use social media or make other internet posts.
One of the many reasons for this phenomenon is that we aren’t face-to-face when we make a post on our Facebook wall or send out a tweet, so we don’t see their body language to know when we are entering dangerous territory by talking about a topic we shouldn’t discuss.
Also, the written word is notorious for causing misunderstandings because the reader can’t “hear” the correct tone or intention of our words since it is written rather than spoken. It’s even easy to feel insulated or anonymous when we are online and posting things to our “friends” and “followers.” So, many of us end up posting or tweeting things that we would never say “in person and in public.”
Whether you are talking to a friend or client in person, or are just making a comment on a website or sending out a social media post, you should always keep in mind that tone and intent can be hard to read. Remember that there is no such thing as anonymity anymore and that you are still using a public space. What you say or otherwise post can and will be shared, and possibly even used against you, as these posts are considered in the “public domain.”
At the very least, you may accidentally hurt someone’s feelings through something that you post or share online. At the worst, you can make the wrong impression and lose out on the opportunity to expand your business, lose your job, or even wind up in a court proceeding.
So, the next time you feel like mouthing off with an off-colour joke on your wall, participating in a flame fest about this or that politician or consider posting that not so funny picture of you and your friends getting hammered on New Year’s Eve, think before you click, and don’t “tell on yourself” to the “whole world.”
Have you ever posted something you have later come to regret?