This post originally appeared on Project Social HR. Unfortunately, the site is no longer active but you can still view past posts on HR and social media, I would encourage you to check it out it out when you have a minute.
When you make the decision to venture into social media keep in mind that HR is always held to a higher standard and should be. Think about it: we work with people at their highest and lowest points; we are the standard bearers of company ethics. It’s only right that we should be held accountable to the same standards or even higher. Once your credibility is shot you don’t get a second chance to rebuild it.
With that said there is no reason why we shouldn’t be able to participate in social media as many people do. It’s just that there are a few things I want you to keep in mind:
- Be prepared: Your tweets, blogs, status updates, etc.; will be scrutinized. Before you post something think about how it could be construed if someone read it at your company. Frustrated by an employee relations issue? Don’t post about it if the employee’s identity could be ascertained. You are running the risk of violating privacy and ethics rules. Rule of thumb: If your message could be misconstrued don’t post it.
- Don’t overshare – it’s a fine line on this one. Nothing wrong with posting pics of yourself having a good time but you probably want to leave out any pics that involve you and a stripper pole. Rule of thumb: a picture of you drinking an adult beverage is no big deal, every other picture of you with an adult beverage (or doing shots) not so good.
- Make sure you understand how to use social media. Many people have gotten tripped up on Twitter, thinking they sent a DM (direct message) when in fact they sent a public Tweet. The result was not good. Rule of thumb: Understand how social media sites and their privacy settings work. I don’t post something unless it’s suitable for public consumption. Save your non-PC rants for your family!
I’m going to stop here now because I don’t want to scare you away. Being in HR and social media isn’t brain surgery, just use some common sense. You know your company better than I do so think about those boundaries before you post. Remember you never get a second chance to build credibility! One it’s gone, it’s gone!