what not to post on social media

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5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Hitting Send

Before sharing a post on social media, it’s important to step back and evaluate what you are posting. I understand that the argument against refraining from posting every single thought you might have can be “freedom of expression,” but before you “freely express” yourself on social media, think about what your words might portray. Always ask yourself these five questions before clicking post:

IS MY POST POSITIVE?

Keep your words positive and supportive! People say that “opposites attract;” however, I’m a firm believer in karma and and the law of attraction. If you stay positive, positive people and opportunities will naturally gravitate toward you.

There are too many times that I scroll through my Facebook and Twitter newsfeeds and stumble upon a Negative Nancy or Debbie Downer post. Sometimes it’s a subtweet on Twitter, and sometimes it’s a full-on Facebook rant.

While I truly believe that it is important to express your emotions through words, I also know that sometimes the best outlet for those words is a private diary. Like a fancy Moleskine–kept tucked under pillow. Whenever you’re upset or angry, pull your thumbs away from your mobile device (trust me), step away from the keyboard, and maybe pull that Moleskine out instead of clicking post.

SHOULD THIS POST BE SHARED WITH ONLY A FEW CERTAIN INDIVIDUALS?

If you’re considering posting a subtweet, (a passive aggressive tweet directed at an unidentified and unnamed individual), stop yourself! Any issues that you have with an individual should stay between you and that individual instead of being publicly aired on social media.

Privacy is very important, and remember that just because you set a post on “private,” doesn’t mean that it is. With a few clever code manipulations, hackers can creep through your privacy settings. So think twice when it comes to risqué photos from last night’s mixer, once you put something on the internet, it can stay there through screenshots, downloads, and shares.

DOES MY POST PROVIDE VALUABLE CONTENT?

Are you that person who is constantly sharing your FarmVille app updates on Facebook? Don’t be. Inundating your audience’s newsfeeds with valueless content shows that you might not understand who your audience is or respect their newsfeeds.

Instead, provide content that is meaningful and newsworthy. Take into consideration which social media platform you are using and who your audience is. That Buzzfeed list of cute and cuddly kittens might be better as the purr-fect Facebook distraction instead of something that might be shared on LinkedIn. Make sure that your post provides valuable takeaway for your audience.

CAN MY POST BE MISCONSTRUED TO BE OFFENSIVE?

Remember that Starbucks campaign where the baristas would write “#RaceTogether” on customers’ lattes and cappuccinos to initiate dialogue supporting diversity and understanding? Who would have thought that such good intentions would have gone so wrong?

Here’s a crash course in crisis communications for you: Always expect the unexpected. Anything can go wrong, even if you had the best intentions at heart. So before posting, consider all the possible ways your message can be miscommunicated.

IS THIS THE MOST APPROPRIATE OUTLET FOR ME TO SHARE THIS POST?

Each social media outlet, from Instagram to Twitter to Facebook to Snapchat, serves its own purpose. Instagram was created to share pictures, Twitter to share instantaneous life updates, Facebook to create an online “brand” for oneself, and Snapchat to share visual stories. Don’t post post status updates every 30 minutes on Facebook because that’s not what Facebook was created for. Instead, you should share those “LOL, getting froyo at Sweet Cece’s with Jane! #delish” status updates in 140 characters or less on Twitter. Your post should be consistent with the social media outlet.

These five questions make up only a handful of questions that are important to consider before posting to social media. Before you post anything that you’re unsure about, always consider the social media outlet you are using and your audience.

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March 26, 2015

What great insight! Thanks Claudette!

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