Top 10 Stupid Things That Will Ruin Social Media for Everyone at Your Company

As more and more people join the consumer-focused social networking platforms, the features and capabilities of these tools become ubiquitous in our daily lives, and are slowly becoming integrated into the way we do business and connect online. This shift in social informatics puts tremendous pressure on businesses to allow – and support – social media in the enterprise. As I mentioned in my previous article Top 10 Reasons Your CIO Blocks Social Media, the concerns around social media are real, and before a business moves forward with plans to develop similar tools or to integrate existing platforms, the risks need to be mitigated.

Having said that, I’ve outlined some ways that a single individual can jeopardize legitimate social media planning for the enterprise by abusing these tools in the work environment. While some of these abuses may simply sour your management’s view of social media tools, other could result in an uncomfortable visit to your company’s attorneys – or your walking papers. Here are my top ten stupid social media blunders, and how to avoid them:

  1. Updating your Facebook status every 10 minutes while at work.
    Maybe your workload has you sitting in front of the monitor all day long, and Facebook is just sitting there in the background. Once in a while, a funny thought pops into your head, and so you just post an update. If someone “jokes” that you’re updating your profile too often, that’s a clue: you are. Get a clue. Perceptions are reality in the corporate world. My advice? Unless you’re in PR or Marketing or Product Evangelism, you may want to keep the frequency of your updates to a minimum during work hours. On a blunder scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being a minor annoyance and 10 involving the district attorney’s office, I give this one a 2
     
  2. Posting photos of the boss in a compromising position.
    While everyone was laughing about how your CEO was so intoxicated at your Christmas party that she laid down in the middle of the dance floor and did snow angels (sadly, this is a true story), the photos you posted on your website are not going to earn you any points with the executive team. Do I really need to explain why this is dumb? Think about your next review. Blunder scale: 5
  3. Announcing to your competitor your next steps.
    Social media sometimes works a little like Darwinism in that its only a matter of time before the idiots self-select. Kind of like the recent news of the soldier who updated his Facebook page about the next day’s mission (and ended up court-martialed). Duh. I remember in the early days of blogging how many companies were worried that employees would slip up and share information that would hurt the business – and for the most part, this just doesn’t happen. It’s hit the news a handful of times, but nothing en masse. Blunder scale: 9
  4. Farmville.
    Nobody cares that you had the featured farm of the week, or what is inside the mystery box, or that you’ve scored some big time farm bucks, so stop sending people your invitations to play. Playing this game makes you dumber, and makes people like you less. I’m just saying. Kind of like the excessive status updates, people are wondering what the heck you’re doing with all of your time. At least you can update your status that you’re working. Farmville updates make it clear you’re doing nothing of value, whatsoever. Blunder scale: 4
  5. Tweeting while in a team meeting.
    It sounds harmless, unless of course your manager’s manager – who happened to be the one presenting in the meeting – happens to follow your feed, notices all of the online activity, and does the math. Not that this has ever happened to me. Blunder scale: 5
  6. Posting work party videos on YouTube. (see #2) 
    Some caution here. All I am going to say here is – would your mother want you watching it at work? Blunder scale: 4 
  7. Continual Motion Links.
    If you link each of your social networking tools together in serially, each one updating the next in succession, creating a continuous chain, you could bring down your entire network, possibly even break the internet. It’s exactly like typing the word “Google” into Google. You’ll break the internet. I read that somewhere. So don’t do it. Blunder scale: 1
  8. Instead of a link to key research data, you point the management team at a Rick Roll. 
    Ah yes, the Rick Roll. The funny bait and switch where you send someone to a link they believe to be a legitimate source of information, and instead find themselves watching a remixed version of a banal-sounding turtleneck-clad cabaret singer named Rick Astley at the height of his not-so-high career (1987). Getting someone to fall for this gag was really funny back in 2006, but only for about 15 minutes. Not that I’ve ever done it. Blunder scale: 3 
  9. Asking legal to come up with a review process for all blog content. 
    what were you thinking? Asking permission instead of forgiveness? You would have probably gone unnoticed long enough for someone to realize that not only is this practice harmless (generally), but good for business? What’s amazing to me are companies that don’t just restrict external blogging, but internal blogging, as well. why? Because someone was dumb enough to ask legal their opinion on it. Blunder scale: 4 
  10. Sharing all corporate dirty laundry in a very public way under a pseudonym.
    We all love reading them, but I kind of have to agree with the corporate-types who think they do more damage than good in solving internal policy debates or in getting ideas for widespread corporate change heard by the corporate masses. I’m a big believer in obeying the law of the land, and using the system to change the system. Of course, there are plenty of examples of where this has been a good thing. However, from the perspective of this article, having one or two loud, public arguments with management through anonymous blogging is a sure-fire way to delay the embrace of social media in the corporate setting. Blunder scale: 7 (However, revealing yourself while still at the company = 9)

Ok, I’ve had a little fun, and hopefully have helped at least one poor soul realize that they were not helping their career – or your plans to deploy social media tools at your company – and are on the right track now. These technologies have the ability to bring teams together and better connect you with partners and customers. It’s the way Gen Y work and collaborate, and its the direction business systems are going. Good luck, and keep your noses clean.

Christian Buckley

Christian is a Microsoft Regional Director and Office Servers and Services MVP, the Founder & CEO of CollabTalk LLC, an independent research and technical marketing services firm based in Salt Lake City, Utah, and CMO of revealit.io, a blockchain-based video technology company.