Social-Media Blunders Need Quick Remedies to Avoid Career Disaster, Expert Says

    Imagine you’re sitting at your desk, you’re hopping mad at a co-worker and you’ve posted an angry status update on Facebook.

    Sure, you feel good for the moment. But, then, you find out that a third party has “shared” your comments with your fellow employees. Panic sets in. What do you do next?

    It’s triage time, said Jeremy Brodsky, the Branch Manager of Robert Half Technology in Detroit. Today’s workplace is ripe for conflict because social media is such an easy outlet for our emotions. However, emotion and etiquette rarely work together.

    “Most workplace mistakes these days involve technology,” Brodsky noted. “They happen all too often, and we’re seeing quite a bit of it. But you can recover from it.”

    Jeremy Brodsky, the Branch Manager of Robert Half Technology.
    Jeremy Brodsky, the Branch Manager of Robert Half Technology.

    Brodsky recommends you keep your cool, think about it and then address it. Take care of the problem even before it’s brought up and you can take care of some of the damage you’ve caused.

    Here are some more tips for keeping you out of trouble when it comes to social media:

    1. Don’t take phone calls or answer emails in meetings with colleagues or clients. Not only is it disruptive, it hurts the flow of business, Brodsky said. People can take offense to it. It’s important to focus unless you’re expecting something urgent, like your wife is about to go into labor. Turn the phone off or put it on silent.

    2. Keep a land line available. When you’re on a conference call, you best not use a cell phone. You never know what type of background noise might be there. Use a land line. Even consider sending a letter for sensitive subjects rather than text or other method. Refrain from talking about sensitive matters over email.

    3. Be mindful of “reply all.” You may not want everyone who is on the email to see what you’ve written or it might be better for select audiences. Always double check who you’re addressing before you hit “send.”

    4. Shorthand acronyms can have new and untrustworthy meanings. Make sure that you’re not confusing anyone with slang, Brodsky said. Keep these sayings for when you’re talking in an informal setting. Few business colleagues need to know you’re LOLing.

    5. Make sure you have permission to take pictures of colleagues in professional settings, especially if you’re posting them. It is best to use discretion in all cases. You really don’t want to make anyone mad. Anything you post in theory could potentially blow up and get millions of views. And, ultimately, that could cost you your job.