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Using Social Media

In the past month, Pathways has been asked to develop eLearning modules on the topic of Social Media awareness and usage by three of our clients. Considering the frequency of these recent requests as well as the acknowledgement that Social Media is by no means a new phenomenon, this leads me to believe that more and more organization have, while probably already realized long ago the potential benefits of utilizing social media, only now realizing the potential pitfalls of having almost every employee connected and active on multiple social media channels.

Over the next few weeks I will discuss this topic from a variety of different perspectives, however for today I will start by providing a few basic tips when using social media related to the common functions of sharing, liking or commenting on content.

Remember that virtually everything that we say and do on social media is visible to the public and that it can be shared very easily. That means that even if you are confident when using social media that what you are about to share, like or comment on is acceptable and harmless to others, you should always still stop and consider carefully before posting.

SHARE. When you share content or a story, remember that this can reflect on how others perceive you, and by extension, the organization you work for. Before sharing, consider the following questions:

  • Could what I'm posting be misinterpreted by anyone?

  • If I'm using humour, could it be considered offensive in any way?

  • If I'm posting “work related” content, is it relevant to our customers and/or clients?

LIKE: Always consider how what you might ’like’ or ‘favorite’ on social media might be interpreted (i.e. Twitter “favorite”, Facebook or YouTube “likes” etc). As anything you "like" or "favorite" could be interpreted as an endorsement. Remember, social media is a public and far reaching form of communication regardless of which channel you are using.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Am I liking or sharing something that is controversial and/or could be negatively perceived by others?

  • Am I favoriting or re-tweeting a post that may go against the values of the organization I work for?

  • Could my actions negatively impact my organizations brand or reputation?

Social media provides the opportunity to share your passions, interests and showcase your personality, but remember to consider the tone, manner and personality you use on social media feeds, boards, videos etc. Avoid anything discriminatory, defamatory, obscene, threatening, intimidating, hateful or harassing. ….

As mentioned above remember that nothing on social media is “private” so it is important to always use good judgment and discretion when online. The consequences for making even one brief, poor decision when using social media can be severe as, unfortunately, many people have found out…and continue to find out.

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