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August 23, 2011
'Don't Make Your Mom Cry'
So what's a ready standard for whether something should be posted on social media in the name of your company or organization, or your own, for that matter? You could do worse than recall this one suggested by e•releases: "Don't Post Anything That Would Make Your Mom Cry." Most of us have ready memories of what about our behavior upset our mothers, and most of the time they were right.

So ask if your mom would be upset about words used or actions suggested, and if so, think twice about them in social media posts. As e•releases puts it:

"What would happen if you sent out a Facebook message that was borderline offensive and your mom saw it? She would probably cry. Or get mad. Or worse, call you up and tell you she’s (gasp) disappointed in you!

"Now, imagine all your customers are clones of your mother. Suddenly, everything you post becomes a huge ordeal. Will she be upset if I say this? If I try to bait and switch, will she call me up and cry into my ear about all the ways I went wrong?"

In social media, anything you're thinking of posting deserves a second look. And if it's borderline, ask yourself, "What would Mom (or Dad, too) think?" Behavioral standards set in childhood remain pertinent throughout life and can be a handy resort in the throes of posting social media, or other ethically challenging situations.

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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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