The year of tweeting dangerously


This is an article by Peter Finnegan.
You could write for Behind the Spin too. Find out how here.

Careless tweets have recently made headlines on both the front and back pages of the papers.

“Hahahahaa, well done £fa I lied did I, £BUNCHOFT****.” This was England footballer Ashley Cole talking about the FA following the John Terry case.

Ashley Cole has since deleted the tweet and has been charged with improper conduct by the FA and has been told he will be punished by his club Chelsea.

Whilst most people might thing this doesn’t have any connection to PR students, I think it does.

Over the past year or so I’ve been quite astonished at what people put on Twitter and Facebook when it comes to things like university, work, relationships etc.

One thing that people forget about Twitter is that it is visible for everyone to see. So if you’re bad mouthing a boss then you’d better be prepared for the consequences in the office the next day.

Lessons in public relations

How does this relate to being a PR student? Well, when applying for jobs within our industry we are expected to be on Twitter and Facebook. We are expected to be ahead of the curve because we are doing a specific, industry-recognised communications degree. And because of this expectation it’s almost guaranteed that whoever is interviewing us will be checking our online presence.

So how does it look if you’re bad mouthing a lecturer or a boss at a part time job? The question they are likely to ask themselves is what are they going to do when it gets a bit hard here? Are they going to take to the internet and start talking in a negative way about the company and our colleagues? If they have any doubts about it then they probably won’t hire you.

Now I am not claiming that I am perfect when it comes to keeping stuff off social media.

Whilst I was on placement last year I was guilty of having a bitch and a moan on Twitter about how bad a day was going or how I wasn’t very happy with what I was doing.  It was only because someone pulled me aside and had a quiet friendly word in my ear that I realised what I was doing and how it could land me in trouble.

Just to clarify, I wasn’t tweeting about people specifically. I was having a rough couple of weeks in and out of the office and took to Twitter to complain and I was mortally embarrassed when reprimanded over this.

Don’t fight the law

It doesn’t just relate to working in our industry either. I worked in the USA over the summer at  camp in Ohio and along with the contracts that I was sent covering health and safety etc, I was given a social media contract. If we breached this along with the other contracts, we were liable for dismissal.  We were also reminded on a regular basis at staff meetings that we were to keep avoid mentioning camp on Twitter and Facebook.

So I guess the point of this article is to remind people to think about what they are putting on Twitter and Facebook. And if in doubt? Don’t.

Think before you tweet. Your career may depend on it.

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