The “Social” Part Really Means People, Stupid

It’s really the only rule of social networking, or writing any digital communication for that matter. Don’t put it there if you don’t want everyone – _meaning everyone_ – to see it.

The web is all aflutter today about a PR exec allegedly badmouthing a client’s city via twitter posts. Careless? Most likely. A carefully conceived high-risk stunt? Perhaps, but not probable.

All in all, probably not a situation that some chatting and forthright honesty can’t take care of (these are PR people after all.)

Regardless of the nature of this particular incident, it is dismaying in the fact that it gives the social media naysayers more ammunition. Yes, you need to watch what you say. Duh. Corporate America is scared of social media as it is, somewhere someone is going to use this as an example of why they shouldn’t empower customers with something useful like product reviews. Nice job.

I’m not a huge participant in social networking, I dabble, but I also immediately realized the pitfalls. The risk is very real that someone will see something you don’t want them to. As online networks proliferate more and more segments of peoples lives will bleed together. Your digital face is a very public one.

If it’s online it’s public, if it’s public it’s professional. I have college age kids in my family. I certainly had my fair share of fun in school, but I certainly didn’t post documentation of it online. I think I’ll start asking them to place bets on which companies will have social media vetting policies in place by the time they graduate.