When it comes to your career reputation, your personal brand and amazing accomplishments can easily be overshadowed by a negative online post. From politics to party pics, your digital diatribe may curtail career opportunities from coming your way. Negative online behavior can also carry over to the workplace. For example, I was recently asked to facilitate a team building session for a group in severe conflict over a comment made online. Yup, one seemingly innocuous post required a consultant’s intervention.
If you feel that negative posts are your best weapon against others, think again. While it may feel easy, powerful and liberating to be rude, crude or hurtful while sitting behind a computer, know this: you can severely damage your career by using social media as a weapon.
Here are five ways social media could be negatively impacting your career and what you can do about it.
Putting Your Employment At Risk: The other day I was reading an article about cars and saw a banker’s ranting post filled with expliatives about her dissatisfaction with a purchase. Of course, it got a lot of traction. But not only did the banker leave a permanent bruise on her reputation but so did the dealer’s representative who responded with such a caustic and insulting tone that I would be surprised if both were still employed. This is the perfect example of when it should be either taken it offline or shared in a more professional manner. It probably would have reduced their blood pressure to seek an amicable solution, and yes, it also would’ve probably gone far to salvage their career reputations. Some conversations are best in person. This is especially true if you want to advance your career or grow your business. According to USA Today, “Face-to-face conversations tend to be more positive, and more likely to be perceived as credible, in comparison with online.” This highly impacts your career in the way that people will tend to trust you more and when there’s trust there’s opportunity.
Creating a Toxic Workplace: So your colleague wasn’t courageous enough to walk over to your office and let you know your cologne is too strong. Instead they posted a negative comment about it on Facebook. Not a good idea. Social media (and emails) should never be used in place of more appropriate forms of communication and it should never be used poke fun of others. Build your career reputation up by handling workplace issues in a professional manner. Instead of using social media as a way to work out your aggressions, either choose to get past the slight or talk with your colleague about your concern. It’s often seen as cowardly to go off on a virtual rant rather than sharing your concerns face to face. Remember, the internet is only a portal for communication and not an excuse to avoid communication.
Aligning Yourself With Negativity. I found a great article on the hiring process and wanted to share it online. Thankfully, I scrolled down through it before I posted. Attached to the bottom of the article were 45 pages of complaints about recruiters. Curiosity got the better of me and I clicked on some of the comment-linked profiles and was surprised to see how many were “seeking new opportunities.” Now I’m not sure if those candidate’s comments will slip under the recruiter’s radar, but I certainly wouldn’t take the chance. Watch what you share online. Don’t fan the flames of someone else’s negativity or align your reputation with theirs. It’s not worth the risk. Instead, focus on sharing positive, insightful and educational posts.
Losing The Ones You Love. I recently heard that in 60% of the divorce cases filed last year, social media was cited as one of the issues. Evidently, “Liking” photos, “Friending,” following Twitter accounts and basically chatting up other people on social media is in some cases, causing a major rift in relationships. I’m not an expert on relationships but I can certainly see the negative impacts that social media has on careers, time management and interpersonal skills. So there’s no doubt in my mind it could possibly derail a relationship. And guess what? That can (and often does) carry over to the workplace. Don’t let social media create personal rifts that negatively impact your ability to do your job well. Just look at how much time you’ve spent answering emails and being glued to your phone and laptop recently. Probably more than you would’ve liked. But prioritizing building authentic relationships and spending time with those we love is critical for a healthy work/life balance. Life is short and social media will always be there. But what about those whom you love? It’s time to put the phone down and engage with those around you.
Making Your Life Miserable. If your day is ruined by what someone writes on your wall, an angry tweet or a Instagram post then you need to disengage from social media more often. Not only will it make you feel better but it will boost your career mood not to hang on every written word. If you spend your lunch hour staring at Facebook then you’re missing out on a lot—good health, good experiences and good opportunities to connect with and learn from others. These are things you can’t buy online and are critical for career success. Experiment with social media fasts and see all the positive effects it can have your career. For one, you’ll probably feel more rested as you’re not up all night worrying about something that you’ve read. You’ll also find yourself in better spirits. Social media is linked to depression, so there is science-based reasons that consuming too much of it can be toxic to your health. Schedule time to disconnect, be with family, exercise and get outside to enjoy the fresh air. You’ll feel healthier, happier and your career reputation will soar.
How To Be Career Happy? Don’t Let Social Media Hurt Your Career