General, Social Media, Work

Social Media Faux Pas & How to Avoid Them

There’s a saying in Latin by Cicero, Cuiusvis hominis est errare. It means – Any man can make a mistake. From which we have the common English derivative, “To Err, Is Human“. Unfortunately, no one gives a damn about Cicero anymore, and thus the saying is as dead as Michael Jackson. In the current digital marketing space, if you make mistakes – you would be on the road looking for a job in a few minutes! This is a follow up from my previous detailed blog post on what to look for in a career in social media, “Are You Cut Out for a Career in Social Media? (Updated)” dated 8 Sept 2011. Let us look at some of the faux pas that one can make and how to prevent them so as not to face the ignominy of getting fired!

1. Marini-Mistake: (Ex-)Microsoft Principal Program Manager for web platform on Windows Phone, Joe Marini got fired. Why? He got too over-ambitious and over-excited about the forth-coming release of Microsoft Windows 7.5 on a Nokia device, thus, couldn’t control his emotions and started tweeting from his personal account – the various many features of the forth-coming release. Got caught, and his ass was fried on a frying-pan.

A) If you’re handling social media relations for forth-coming product releases (the product in question maybe a tangible or intangible product/service), whether directly or indirectly, refrain from getting carried away from the exciting features. Means – do not post in Facebook, or fucking start Tweeting on your company OR/AND personal account. Please remember – If you’re working with serious proprietary data, 99.9999% chances are your social media profile(s) are extremely closely scrutinized by your direct employer(s) in question. Yes, they don’t need to do last century Google search for you, but can utilize Social Media CRM platforms to get all the data they need in less than 30 seconds.

B) Tweeting or blogging or posting anything which has not yet been released – Ain’t cool. Nope. It doesn’t help in increasing your self-esteem or getting more female fans in the bar, or otherwise. Unless you’re working for one of those Chinese anonymous blogs which manage to leak iPhone prototypes every month – it aint fucking worth it.

2. Bartosiewicz-Blitzkreig: Former Chrysler Social Media Community Manager, Scott Bartosiewicz got his ass fired for using the ‘F’ word (absolutely accidentally) on the official twitter account. Yes. You can fucking swear as much as you wish and want and rant on your personal Blog, Facebook page and Twitter account, but it ain’t cool to use the ‘F’ word ever when curating & moderating a 3rd-party client account. In this case, Scott was employed by the agency (New Media Strategies) which was running the social media campaigns for Chrysler – as a result it snowballed into the following. Scott got fired by the agency, and very next minute, Chrysler fired the agency. All for a single tweet of 140 characters where 1 word had a “fucking” in it…

A) As a Manager hiring talent, always look for people who have a small fear factor in them. Who are passionate but always check and double-check their work.

B) If you’re working for a Fortune 100/1000 client – please understand the Brand Guidelines documents from them. Not adhering to them means, you will be out on the road in no time at all.

C) If you’re using your smartphone, then laptop, again smartphone etc. for updating your Facebook status and Twitter accounts – and inter-changing them from time to time – FUCKING stop doing that. Its not only extremely dangerous – owing to not clearing cache, but many a times, I’ve met people who have wrongly tweeted on their personal accounts whilst assuming they used their official accounts to tweet and vice-versa. And yes, Scott gave the same reason whilst getting fired as well. He thought it was his personal account. And especially for people who are using tools like: TweetDeck or SocialOomph, please be careful while tweeting or scheduling the tweets cause if one or more accounts are selected by default – you’re fucking fried like KFC’s boneless chicken.

D) For consultants working from home, or professionals working from home, or professionals like myself (poor people as myself) who do some consulting work for clients from home from time to time, follow this rule. I use 1 laptop for personal work exclusively, 1 for my full-time work, and 1 for all my consulting projects. Thus, have multiple browsers open for work and nothing gets mixed up ever. If you cannot afford so many laptops, then make sure you install 4/5 browsers on your lappy and thus use each for working for each client. But mixing up everything and then later blaming a tool or platform wouldn’t help.

3. Job-Rantings: If you wish to complain about your work or boss or anyone in general, either maintain an anonymous blog or anon twitter account. Be naughty but don’t get caught. This is an excellent article from Mashable with stats for people getting fired for being naughty but getting caught in Facebook.

An excellent clip to watch is Can I get fired for using Social Media? on YouTube, wherein Corporate & Technology Lawyer, Malcolm Burrows shares his thoughts on social media policy in the workplace.

Thus, be safe online. Build up a reputation online, and stay away from common mistakes, which can result YOU (as a brand online) getting tainted.

Thanks all,

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