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The Top 10 Social Media Mistakes (Part 2)

Posted September 23, 2009 5:01 PM by Steve Melito

Uncle Sam wants you to use social media wisely! The message from the Pentagon Channel's latest FNG video won't wind up on a recruitment poster, but the U.S. military does want American men and women in uniform to avoid the top 10 social media mistakes. Fortunately for us civilians, there are some things we can learn from this video, too.

Part 1 of this two-part series covered mistakes 10 – 5. Today, we'll cover mistakes 5 – 1. Along the way, each section will provide some commentary to help adapt the Pentagon Channel's advice to the civilian world.

5. Blogging about things you don't know.

"Stay in your lane of knowledge," the Pentagon Channel advises bloggers in the armed forces. "Just because you're in the military doesn't mean you're an expert in all areas of the military". That's true, of course, but should civilians write about what they don't know firsthand? The answer is simple: it depends.

As any good CR4 blogger knows, opinion masquerading as fact is intellectually dishonest. That's why so many CR4 blog entries have a list of "Resources" or "Additional Reading" at the end. We want you to check our sources and to dig deeper, if you so choose. Most bloggers begin with at least a basic familiarity of their subject, of course, but there's plenty of room for learning along the way.

If your blog cites statistics, do you provide links that users can choose to see the facts for themselves? If you tweet about what you've read, do you really trust your source? In the end, you're putting your good name on the line.

4. Endorsing a product or company.

It's "uncool" for a member of the U.S. armed forces to endorse a motorcycle or amusement park, the Pentagon Channel video explains. "Your audience views you as a representative of the military."

So how does your audience view you? As an engineer or other technical professional, do you feel that you're under any special obligation when it comes to endorsements? For example, would your employer appreciate your tweets about a competitor's successful use of a new technology? Probably not.

3. Posting personal comments, feelings, or conversations.

Feelings. Everyone has them, but not everyone needs to know about them. Just as losing your cool in a departmental meeting can be a career-limiting move (CLM), launching a "flame war" reveals a lack of judgment – especially if your language becomes all too colorful.

2. Posting any information that compromises military people or operations.

"Some information", the Pentagon Channel warns, should be shared "with your battle buddies only". It's the same in the civilian world. Competition in the marketplace is your company's battlefront, and you don't want to reveal any secrets to the enemy.

As a member of CR4 Admin, I've answered emails and even fielded phone calls from frantic users who revealed too much information about their company's products in our very public forum. In at least one case, I wound up working with the user's supervisor instead. The user, you see, was no longer with the company.

1. Posting something and regretting it.

The Pentagon Channel video says it best. "Photos, videos and blogs last forever. They never go away". So remember that picture of you in the Hawaiian shirt with the drink in each hand? Here's hoping it never made it onto Facebook in the first pace.

Bottoms up!

The Pentagon Channel

FNG Video on Facebook

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Guru

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#1

Re: The Top 10 Social Media Mistakes (Part 2)

09/23/2009 11:06 PM

Mom said, "If you don't want people to know it, don't write it down."

For Xmas I want a Triumph 650, or a Buell.

-okay a Honda these days will be fine. Thanks.

Now actually I never lose my cool in public unless it is related to my reputation for integrity, or over money and work, or something stupid that I have to apologize for.

I love it when Guests actually tell us secrets. Don't post stuff under your own name, or avatar if it is really a secret you are letting go of. Have a really good reason to do that. Send me a PM.

Hawaiian shirts and a drink in each hand are signs of a generous well dressed person.

Hawaii is a fine state with nice people, patriots, and it is insulting to us who like to wear their distinctive block cut shirts to imply there would be any good reason to censure, fire, demote, or otherwise diminish the character of someone in a Hawaiian shirt. Especially it is known that people with two drinks, one in each hand, typically are bringing one of those drinks to the photographer.

I do hope that someone finds a photo of me with two drinks in my hands in Hawaii.

I especially want that picture to include my Generals 25 star hat, real tall hat, and the 6 continent battle ribbons, - got one for the Moon Fight you know...

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#3
In reply to #1

Re: The Top 10 Social Media Mistakes (Part 2)

09/24/2009 8:27 AM

I agree, who wouldn't want to party with this guy?

I'm not worried about what other people find online about me either.

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#11
In reply to #3

Re: The Top 10 Social Media Mistakes (Part 2)

09/25/2009 9:00 PM

Wow Kaplin!

That is awesome!

It looks just like me. In fact it is my face.

In fact it looks an awful lot like me.

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#5
In reply to #1

Re: The Top 10 Social Media Mistakes (Part 2)

09/24/2009 9:35 AM

Thanks for your comment, Transcendian. I mean no offense to the people or the state of Hawaii. Rather, I'm trying to make a point about how social media can blur the lines between the personal and the professional.

Some business are very straight-laced. Others are laid back, even to the point of having "Hawaiian Shirt Fridays". Some companies sponsor luncheons where beer is served. Others have employee handbooks that prohibit workers from even possessing alcohol in their personal vehicles while on company grounds.

Let's say that you're a job seeker who likes to wear Hawaiian shirts and carry a drink in each hand. If you'd never agree to work for a straight-laced company, then it might might not matter much who sees what pictures of you. However, if you might like to work for such a straight-laced company someday, then maintaining control over your "public image" becomes far more important.

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Anonymous Poster
#7
In reply to #5

Re: The Top 10 Social Media Mistakes (Part 2)

09/24/2009 4:17 PM

I, respectfully don't agree, because my basic dignity keeps me from possing for my boss, specially in my own spare time, and because I'm free to enjoy my own spare time. I'm not saying a word about a real embarrasing picture, like being dishonest or commiting a felony.

Yahlasit

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#12
In reply to #5

Re: The Top 10 Social Media Mistakes (Part 2)

09/26/2009 1:54 PM

I knew you didn't really mean any offense to Hawaiians. I was sort of just kidding around. Every writer knows some cliches are useful.

-well maybe not Faulkner, or Cormac McCarty. -I swear that guy makes words up.

You know you are important when you see a cartoon of yourself in the newspapers.

I did a big study of espionage and human motivations, and as the world has changed I have to say though I was real interested in espionage, I hate being forced to use spycraft in my daily life. One of my sayings is, "If you won't get wild now and then, you will go crazy."

There is a time and a place for certain types of behavior.

I am getting here in this post into broader areas of the "social". Media only carries content. Marshall Macluen, notwithstanding.

The idea that your public image is more important to control if anticipating work for the straight-laced is not necessarily true. Sometimes the straight laced are wise enough to know they need to work with you specifically because you are not straight laced.

To work "with" and to work "for" make a difference in the deal between the employee, and the employer. Now we do live in mean and judgemental times. This is not unusual to US history at all. Some States are flat out meaner than others though.

The US is funny in that it does have one of the most expansive and long fought histories of Free Speech. Long before Social Media, I got in plenty of trouble for things published either for pay, or as letters just out there in newspapers.

"If your writing doesn't get you in trouble, you're probably not very good."

"Fame without money, sucks."

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

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#2

Re: The Top 10 Social Media Mistakes (Part 2)

09/24/2009 3:20 AM

Not blogging about stuff you don't know! That would close down half the internet.

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#4
In reply to #2

Re: The Top 10 Social Media Mistakes (Part 2)

09/24/2009 8:49 AM

That would be a great thing

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#10
In reply to #2

Re: The Top 10 Social Media Mistakes (Part 2)

09/25/2009 8:52 AM

If you feell you must blog about things you don't know about have the sense to use a fake name your coworkers and boss won't guess at.

Use fake names for your coworkers and company too just in case.

In my fake life, I work for pirates. On a gaming site I frequent, I know someone in the military who is a desk clerk pretending to be more. So much so that he's convinced himself he knows more about tactics than my DF who was taught by his dad, a navy seal. It's quite fun to provoke the guy because he's not very smart but we'd like him more if he'd be honest and just admit he's a pencil pusher.

I try to keep my psycotic rants to places no one would look 2x at though. Like Deviantart. Heh.

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Anonymous Poster
#6

Re: The Top 10 Social Media Mistakes (Part 2)

09/24/2009 12:41 PM

Moose:

The end result of all this is that the so-called social media are not really social at all. They are a theatre of information warfare.

Just as company parties are not really parties. They are office politics carried on by other means.

It used to be, that you could put in your appearance at the office party and make all the right impressions, and then go hang out with your friends on the weekend and actually relax.

But now you can never relax, because you never know when one of your friends will whip out a cell phone and take one of those pictures that must never be posted...

And so, something that appears to bring us together actually reinforces the defensive walls that keep us apart. Making us more alone than ever before.

How ironic.

How sad.

And how chilling.

People who can never relax don't stay sane for very long.

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Anonymous Poster
#8
In reply to #6

Re: The Top 10 Social Media Mistakes (Part 2)

09/24/2009 4:44 PM

Yes, you have to be careful.

I've been to those parties, but when someone asks me about the installation or repair of something, I answer: "Look, this not the table of intalls or repairs; go to that one over there, besides the "purchasing table" and behind the "Q. assurance table".

But let me tell you that real friends don't spread shamefull things about you, they make fun of you in your face and gladly take your responses and everybody laughs. Otherwise they wouldn't be friends but a bunch of hypocrats.

So, don't worry, and in no ways do to others what you wouldn't like to be done to you, and you'll be respected by all your friends.

Yahlasit

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Anonymous Poster
#9
In reply to #8

Re: The Top 10 Social Media Mistakes (Part 2)

09/24/2009 11:11 PM

how one has to deal with blogs world over and advertisements for medicines for skin care,weight reduction and host of products which gives an impression the products and subjects blog ed are wounder salutations

crm

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#13

Re: The Top 10 Social Media Mistakes (Part 2)

09/27/2009 1:11 PM

You will notice the drink in my hand. I am greeting all who see it. I believe in using my real name rather than a pseudonym. When I have something to say, I have enough conviction to let the world know and that I alone am responsible for my words. You may not agree with me, but you have the right. Just have the courtesy to meet with me on a level playing field, one on one. If I am wrong, I will admit it. I don't claim to know everything. I don't think you do either. Unless you can back up your statements, then I am right by default. My life is an open book and I have nothing to hide.

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#14
In reply to #13

Re: The Top 10 Social Media Mistakes (Part 2)

09/27/2009 4:35 PM

You'd be surprised how much you might have to hide.

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#15
In reply to #13

Re: The Top 10 Social Media Mistakes (Part 2)

09/28/2009 8:26 AM

Ronseto,

As Transcendian has suggested, thy name is Cleopatra. Queen of Denial. US companies are parinoid now. They are always afraid what you say will give them bad PR and cost them that one much needed dollar to make budget this month.

Ignoring the irony that their executive wash room probably cost your company more than an off hand derogitory remark might, most companies take a VERY dim view on blunt honesty from their employees as to them this means you are not a team player and do not belong there.

You have much more to hide than you could ever imagine.

I got called on the carpet years ago for 'blogging about work' I was, but was doing so discreetly and saved my observations on the amusing behavior of my cowrokers for home and never mentioned which company so they didn't have a leg to stand on. It was just a scare tactic on their part but the point was made. You don't talk about what happens at home with other people.

A common mantra among abusive parents and I suppose in a way, very fitting in today's job market.

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