16 Nov

Please be careful

After a highly emotional weekend, the dust begins to settle slightly (only slightly).
Normal service will resume tomorrow, but I couldn’t go without writing a quick post (in addition to a tweet I put out), the content of which, really, should be common sense… but it’s clearly not common sense to everyone.

I’m sure most people are aware of the terrible events that took place in Paris, on Friday night (yes, there have also been terrible events elsewhere in the world, but this isn’t designed to be a deeply political post).

In the aftermath, I’m sure most of us saw the deluge of comments, across all social media platforms, from friends, family, colleagues, associates.
We are all entitled to hold a view on what happened, and we’re entitled to disagree with one another on these views, but…

… if you have social media accounts for your business, please be careful – please have a think about what you’re posting on there and how that comes across to both existing and potential clients/customers.

As you would expect when emotions run high, there are some highly controversial comments being thrown about. Unfortunately, some of them border on outright racism and/or incitement.

I’m not a fan of such views, and never have been, but people can have them if they so wish. However, if you hold such strong views, maybe don’t put them on your business-linked social media accounts: you can post them on many other forums.
Why? Have a think how your views are going to be perceived by your current clients. Have a think how those views will also be viewed by potential clients, who might just be thinking about using you… then you post something highly inflammatory, which reveals how you truly feel about certain situations/cultures/people. What if they happen to be from the very culture you’ve just slated?
You may well think ‘sod it, it’s my feed, these are my views – I can say what I want’, but that’s an emotional reaction and you may well regret it later, when certain people don’t want to do business with you. What’s more important to you: getting your views out there, or not losing clients?
Again, you may hold certain views which others don’t like, but which you’re entitled to have… but don’t shoot yourself in the foot by expressing those views through your business.

The number of people I’ve seen, this weekend, who’ve expressed certain views on their business social media accounts, and I’ve thought; ‘right, I’m not working with you in the future, or recommending you…’

I’ve kept my views away from my That Writing Chap Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ accounts.

There is another argument. On our personal social media profiles, we may have a mixture of friends and clients / potential clients, and I’d say that it’s still possible to turn people away from your business by expressing strong opinions on these personal profiles.
I’ve seen views that’ve concerned me, on personal profiles, and – being honest – people might not have liked reading what I’ve had to say on the events in Paris (or the follow-on reactions) … but I feel safer expressing my views there than anywhere else online.

A highly emotive subject has reared its ugly head once more, and it’s fine to have an opinion on this: just be careful where you express that opinion though – don’t shoot yourself in the foot.

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