Social Media Suicide - DON'T DO IT! Protect Your Reputation at ALL Costs
I don't know what it is about this time of year but, I do believe that we're all just a bit testy from being confined to indoor spaces. We're ever so ready to get out into the spring weather that's just not quite here yet...almost but, not quite! During this 'closed-in' season, I've seen friends, acquaintances and fellow business owners who are typically gracious, informative and hospitable, either writing inappropriate commentary or joining in on a virtual 'bashing.'
The news is full of social media negativity and numerous social media participants have lost jobs, been asked to leave schools and been banned from professional associations because of this type of behavior. They feel that as Americans, our freedom of speech will protect them. These social media participants don't realize when they're commenting negatively that they're truly hurting their own businesses and their personal reputations as well.
Here are a few thoughts gleaned from recent conversation and experience pertaining to protecting our reputations:
- If you don't like or agree with something that you read, just move on. Think of it as holding your TV remote--if you scan past a program that does not interest you, don't you just click the remote and move on to something that does strike your fancy? Do the same with your reading.
- Remember what our grandparents said, "If you don't have anything good to say, don't say anything at all!" Now, I know that a healthy debate is just that...healthy. However, berating others and putting them down is not debating them. Rather that form of 'debate' is unhealthy and truly looks poorly on the one who is making the negative comments, NOT the one with whom you're disagreeing.
- If you love a good debate, remember to stick to the facts of the topic--nothing more. Calling someone an 'idiot' just because they don't agree with you is not debating, it's name-calling and can be viewed as libel, which is a criminal offense. So, if you know you can't debate without name-calling, then hit that channel-changing button and move on!
- When prompted by one cyber-bully to attack another, don't do it! Don't be sucked into the negative energy that could also destroy your own reputation or business. It's simply not worth it...again, move on to the next article/post/comment where ever you're reading takes you.
- As REALTORS®, we are also bound by our Code of Ethics, RESPA / Fair Housing guidelines. Many of the statutes not only apply to our clients but, to one another. Keep these in mind when making commentary online. I recently learned that there are people out there who are PAID to find these comments and report them to the appropriate Boards, Commissions or federal offices. It's just not worth losing our licenses over making a comment that we feel makes us look good (which only works that way to ones self, not the general public) or to make simply someone else look bad.
We have enough negativity in our business these days; a common link in the make-up of those who remain in our business is their positive attitudes. Stay that course; don't stray from it. You don't EVER want to risk social media suicide!