To Share or Not to Share: Consider These Questions Before Posting on Social Media

The flurry of social media activity during and after the recent U.S. presidential election has prompted a lot of us to reconsider how Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn activities reflect individual reputation.about-6-in-10-americans-get-news-from-social-media

Then there were the reports of fake news – sensational and otherwise – designed to sway public opinions. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been slow to recognize the responsibility associated with the fact that two-thirds of users of his site get news from it (and that some of it is blatantly false, defamatory or hate-filled) even though it isn’t a traditional media outlet.

Ninety-nine percent the news that comes across my social media feeds meets my expectations of professional communication. But recently, some of it has been surprising. I don’t know whether to attribute it to algorithms or to decisions made by individuals.

Which has made me reconsider my own criteria for professional posts. I use LinkedIn and Twitter for work, but leave Facebook strictly for friends and family. I also work alone, so I don’t exactly have a social media policy.

It boils down to three priorities:

  1. Is it newsworthy? The noise on Twitter and LinkedIn feeds often feels chaotic to my introvert mind. If the information isn’t unique or fresh, I won’t share it. And, as with any news posted on any media, it needs to be factual.
  1. Is it helpful? If it can be used to genuinely help one of my connections, it makes the cut. If it is a pithy quote in a pretty picture or if I say “so what” after reading a LinkedIn article, it doesn’t. I also prefer to share information with some amount of depth.
  1. Does it further my brand? Social media activity should reflect professional values and identity as much as any other communications. It’s worthwhile to convey “who I am” through the information that I share and the people I engage with.

My social network tends to be sceptical of professionals who reveal too much personal information. Most of them manage risk for a living and are somewhat conservative by nature; they have specific expectations of what I will share or recommend.

If I am going to surprise my connections with a post, I’d rather it be one that adds a relatable, respectable dimension to my brand than one that would cause them to question my judgment.