Using Social Media Can be a Risky Business if Not Careful

What Are the Risks of Social Media?

OK you have probably learned a lot about the benefits that you would receive if you relied on some great social media campaigns to promote your brand or to promote you as a business owner. And social media is excellent for helping you achieve a positive online reputation. But like anything else that is beneficial, you also have risks associated with it.

Think about medication. If you have a condition that requires medication to help treat it, you also have to realize there are risks that go with it. I am no doctor but I am well aware of the fact that when you are taking medication of any kind, there are risks.

Anyway, I am sure you get the point so let’s talk about what kind of risks that are associated with social media. There are three major ones (and we are excluding rumors that others say about you- if a lot of people like you, you will have them sticking up for you so the rumors would disappear fast, especially if they cannot be proven).
In fact the risks that are associated with social media stem from anything negative about you or from you that is there in black and white.

One major issue that can be quite problematic is if you are trying to build up a positive reputation and all of a sudden you go to a party and start smoking pot or you are making a complete fool of yourself after having too much to drink- there is a good chance that someone will take a snap shot of you doing that and will post it on Instagram or something. Before you know it, that dangerous pic will go viral and then there goes your reputation. Very damaging!

Another sure way to mess your reputation up is constantly complaining and by putting up negative status updates. People will become very turned off by that and that will kill your reputation. It is one thing to vent once in a while after having a bad and stressful day just to get it off of your chest. However, when the negativity is constant, that will be damaging to you. So if you are trying to build up a positive reputation online but at the same time you are unhappy with your life situation- well you can change the things that can be changed and work around the thing that can’t be changed. That is what I am trying to do and it is empowering. But if you need to constantly vent, then go get a private journal to do that and leave it off of your social networks.

And finally, if you see something negative online about you, do not approach that individual. And if it is downright libelous, then you can threaten to sue but talk to a lawyer first if you want to go down that route. But I am talking about if someone read a book you had written and did not like it- leave it be! A situation like this happened last year. Someone who had reviewed this author’s book left a negative review on his blog. It was not cruel, it was an honest review. The author found it and she completely flipped out and cussed at him. This meltdown that she had ended up going viral fast and the chances of anyone getting her books declined. Not because of the negative review, but because of her reaction to it. So if you see a negative comment about your business or yourself, you must just leave it alone. Your friends will see it and stick up for you so this way you will keep a positive reputation anyway.

How to Prevent Making Those Harmful Social Media Mistakes

The first thing you need to do is to use common sense. If you are going to a party, you will want to keep that professional image that you are trying to build online, offline as well. Limit yourself to a few drinks and keep away from the pot. You will be fine. Just keep in mind that everything you do is not private anymore! If you remember that, you will be fine.

Secondly, again if you have the need to vent all of the time, get a private journal. Keep it off of your social networks. If you can’t say anything positive then just pass around silly pictures that you get from your friends’ on Facebook and just don’t say anything otherwise. I really do understand how frustrating things can be but the best thing to do is to not make venting a habit in public. People don’t like whiners and whiners will end up suffering even more with a negative reputation.

Thirdly, if you see something negative written about you, just stay away from it! I understand how tempting it can be to tell someone off even if it is well deserved but for your own sake, leave it alone. Don’t even contact the individual unless you want to go down the legal route (but you need to really determine whether or not that is worth it as that will get messy). Just remember something. Social media is so powerful these days that your actions will spill over to the offline world. Do you see the image on top of this post? That will happen too if you have been the focus of conversation. Not to mention once it spills over to the offline world, that is when it becomes even more dangerous as this will cost you job opportunities or anything else for that matter.

Just concentrate on giving out useful info and building up a good reputation online. Use common sense and do not react to anything. You will then be fine.

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Written by Miriam

Miriam

Miriam Slozberg is an author, social media consultant and depression advocate. Connect with her on Google+, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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5 Responses to Using Social Media Can be a Risky Business if Not Careful

  1. Krys October 3, 2012 at 1:22 am #

    Excellent point! I have seen so many people make asses out of themselves on Facebook, it is truly mind boggling.

  2. Tim October 9, 2012 at 12:39 am #

    It is never a good idea to let a blog go stale so these are great tips. There is never an excuse to not update your blog at least one time a week.

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