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5 Social Media Mistakes That Could Get You Fired

Somewhere along the line, Facebook turned into an online, public diary. Users keep all their friends updated about every time they go to the bathroom, exactly why and who they are irritated with today, and post every picture taken. Social media - whether it be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Tumblr - is not only visited by friends and family; a lot of employers use these sites to check out both potential and current employees. Now that you’re a grown-up, it’s time to have a grown-up social media profile.

If you must share your personal details with your followers, just use common sense when you’re posting things and think before you post - because it’s entirely possible that some of those tirades could lose you your job. Still not sure what not to post? Here are a few pointers:

Never Complain...

  • ...about your boss.
    This seems obvious, but it’s a common problem. Writing a three-paragraph post about how horrible and unfair your boss acts is a huge mistake. Even if your profile is 100% private, you’re most likely connected online to a few friends and co-workers - word could get back to your boss (and most likely will).
  • ...about co-workers.
    No one likes drama in the work place. Listing all the reasons why your co-workers shouldn’t be working there, or how hot the copy room girl is, or how the guy in the next cubicle breathes too loud, creates some serious antagonism in the work place. You might not be mentioning names, but they probably still know who they are - and if they don’t, everyone else does. So even if you think you’re being anonymous, you probably aren’t. This also shows a serious lack of regard for those around you and makes you seem wildly inadequate in the team player department. Even if you don’t lose your job over it, you’re risking damage to your work relationships.
  • ...about your company.
    Companies have people who are specifically there to find out how and where they’ve been mentioned on the news and on the web. So finding an employee who is spending hours a day writing about how horrible their company is probably won’t go over well. If you don’t have something nice to say, they probably aren’t going to have some very nice things to say to you.

Don't Over-share...

  • ...inappropriate content.
    Maybe your girlfriend likes to see you topless and wrapped in a towel on the internet, but chances are, not a lot of other people do. It’s also wildly unprofessional. Your social media should represent you in a positive, responsible light - not make you look like a pornstar. The same rule applies to written word. Some things just don’t need to be said online. Sharing what you do at home that may not exactly be legal are a sure-fire bet (pun intended). Keep your hobbies to yourself if they aren’t straightlaced, responsible sounding hobbies.  

  • ...complicated opinions.
    Just because you have something to say about anything and everything doesn’t mean you should - especially not where everyone can see it forever. Everyone has that one friend on Facebook who posts about nothing other than his political opinions - and you definitely don’t want to be that guy. Keep in mind that everyone is entitled to their own opinion - but do you really want to be judged for it by your friends, family, co-workers, and acquaintances?

In the same vein, avoid talking about clients, patients, students, or anyone else who might be making your business money; not to mention there are laws that prevent employees from talking about some of these people - because if you cause your company a lawsuit or lose clients for your company, your boss will probably consider it just as easy to dispense with you.

Last Updated: September 22, 2015