Watching Your Mouth Online

Oddly enough, right before I saw this article come across Twitter, I had several in-depth conversations with friends in real life about the boundaries and sometimes lack thereof within social media, and how disturbing it can be to watch sometimes. I have a close friend who is hesitant to embrace Facebook – and not just because of effing Mafia Wars. She is concerned about the level of privacy. If she dips her foot in the pool, will she get completely pushed in by some random situation out of her control? Or more importantly, what creepy photos from high school will surface???

Case in point, another friend of ours is currently covertly looking for a job. So, what happens? Someone else in this friend’s life puts a note on her wall in Facebook:

“How did the interview go?”

Those 5 little words could do major carnage if you think about it. The friend has co-workers on her Facebook. One of those co-workers is a BOSS.

Any way you slice it… a generally irresponsible thing for someone to say in a public platform.

The way I think about it, social media is a cocktail party. Would you walk up to a friend when she is surrounded by a group of people you don’t know, and ask her how her interview went? Then, why would anyone do that on Facebook?

It boils down to the Golden Rule:

Always wear clean underwear in case you get in an accident.

Oh wait. Wrong Golden Rule.

Never say anything online that you wouldn’t say in person.

And by extension, when you are online, think about where the information is flowing. When you are out, when you are drunk, when you are WHATEVER. If you don’t “get” the medium, take a step back and learn it. Observe it, see how it ticks. You’re less likely to really hurt someone that way.

My friend Sarah likes to tease me that she is my REAL friend and that she knows me in REAL life and we have a REAL relationship. Implying that my online friends are not real. That was, of course, until I got her shitfaced and made her start a Twitter account. Now she is both. Revenge is sweet, dudes!

But I understand what she means, and it corrals the wagons back around to a point the author makes in the above article, where IRL friends feel like those involved with social media spend too much time interacting with their IMAGINARY friends, and so forth.

The thing is, the people I meet online are real to me. I have REAL relationships with them, even if I have never met them in person.

Which is EXACTLY why I would never ask how an interview went on someone’s Facebook wall.

This article has 26 comments

  1. Anonymous

    100% agree with you! -m (You are real to me!)

  2. Laurie

    All really good points. I still struggle with Facebook, and putting myself out there in general (which is why I only put my name when I comment) – you just have to figure out where you are comfortable.

  3. Anonymous

    I can’t believe someone would do that!

  4. Sizzle

    Good stuff! Food for thought because it’s common practice to google a person when interviewing them or even when they are you employee to check up on them. This is the #1 reason why I keep work stuff (mostly) off my blog and do not associate my name with my blog AND keep Twitter and FB locked.

  5. Sarah

    Unfortunately your friend Sarah gets drunk and Twitters now and is going to blame you for this bx. Fortunately she has only 16 followers-all of whom she has met and know she is crazy IRL.

  6. Aimee Greeblemonkey

    Kevin – damn, and I thought I was so original with the cocktail party schtick. 😉

    Sizzle – yes, you are very smart how you handle everything. Especially with your job at …. KIDDING!!!

    And Dan – that sucks! But congrats on the job!

  7. Aimee Greeblemonkey

    Sarah – ANY you have wisely made your Twitter private. WHEW. I would hate for my REAL shit to get out there.

  8. Char

    what excellent advice and a good point. since i’m looking for work, I’m always thinking about how I present myself to the world. and I would never have my working relationships on my facebook.

  9. monstergirlee

    Good post, I think there are a LOT of people out there who should read this post at least every 6 months or so. Thanks for the reminder.

  10. Anonymous

    Although your friend’s friend shouldn’t have put a message on facebook regarding the interview, your friend should also consider not including co-workers and bosses as facebook friends. Some companies actually have policies against that. My two cents.

  11. Aimee Greeblemonkey

    Anonymous, yes very good point. I actually do not have anyone from work in my Facebook friends – even though I do consider all the people who work at my company friends. It was a place where I have drawn the line.

  12. Kevin Montgomery

    Very nicely put……the cocktail party theme keeps emerging. It is amazing to me how people act online……..they say things they wouldn’t dare say to your face…….sort of like that thing that happens when people get into a car…..they act aggressively, drive crazily, and then exit the car and are totally charming…………..funny.

  13. Dan

    I was asked a while ago how a job interview went on Facebook.

    I answered along the lines of, “I don’t think Facebook is the right place to talk about this, but i’ll let you know how it ends up”.

    I got that job.

    You just have to think before you type!

  14. Julie @ The Mom Slant

    Oh my gosh yes. So very important to consider your friends’ and acquaintances’ privacy when using social media. Remember how I asked every one of Tacy’s birthday party guests’ parents whether we could post pictures of their kids online? Far too few people think about stuff like that, and I dare say it’s the people who are just now getting into social media (esp on FB) and have no clue how far their words (and photos) may reach.

  15. jamie

    Here’s my awkward Facebook story: a guy I know (and I also know his wife) posted a video of himself being interviewed on TV. He is English, but has lived in the U.S. forever. In the post, he self-deprecatingly compared himself to Dick Van Dyke.

    I commented that I’d always sort of had a crush on Dick Van Dyke, which completely came off as flirty (duh) and was greeted by deafening silence.

    I am an idiot.

  16. Rachel

    Wow. Yeah. That is mind-boggling.

  17. The Casual Perfectionist

    Actually, if I’m ever in an accident the odds of my underwear remaining unsoiled is… Waitaminute. Did I just almost type that out loud?

    I agree with you about the Facebook/Twitter/Everyone-Can-Really-Hear-You thing! It is a new world with all kinds of pitfalls…

  18. Aimee Greeblemonkey

    Ken, that is a good point too!

  19. kengaylord

    I agree with you 100% that these things are inappropriate to say, but you do have to realize that you cannot always control what others are going to say about you. That is where some of the better controls that Facebook has implemented come into play. And then there is the all important control of keeping work and personal social media separate. It’s is as easy as not accepting friendship from someone who is not truly a friend.

  20. Lynn@human, being

    I was recently engaged in a discussion about friending coworkers on FB, and a guy sitting across the table from me said, “Well, you ignored my friend request.” Which was embarrassing, because I was FB friends with 4 of the other 5 people around the table.

    I do have work friends on my FB list, but only those people whom I am social with outside of work. My boss? Not so much. If I didn’t have my blog linked and posted on FB, maybe I would. My blog offers TMI sometimes, and I’m not ashamed, but I don’t want it to be a topic of conversation at my next review.


    Excellent post. I would be one of those people that would ask how the interview went (IRL) becasue I am clueless.

  22. beyondalice

    People that don’t have online friends don’t seem to understand. But I love my online friends just as much as my IRL friends. They are all REAL people! I have had the good fortune to meet some of my online friends in real life, and it was fabulous!!!

  23. Kimberly

    Very good food for thought. IMO, a lot of your average “facebookers” don’t get the etiquette involved whatsoever. They barely grasp the medium to begin with and have no idea of the implications. At least that’s how it is with many of the moms around here. I always dump their friend requests…not worth the headache.

  24. Sarah

    For me, it’s been most problematic when family
    members that I’m not that close with request to be my friend on fb/Twitter. I feel like they are trying to “moniter” me. And those requests are so much harder to just ignore.

  25. Fi

    I’ve recently rejoined my old company, and had friended a lot of colleagues upon leaving. Now one of them is my boss. My dilemma is, do I unfriend her (and risk offending her) and do I have to think twice about everything I post? Luckily she’s one of those one every three months updaters so it’s not like she’ on on constantly, but still…

  26. fruitlady

    Or talk openly about your divorce? I had to deactivate my account for a while, for just this reason. Boundaries are skewed and people have no idea what the fuck they are doing. It’s given me a whole new perspective on Soc Media.

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