I’ve written about this before, but in this digital age, everything you say can and will be used against you in the future. It only takes an instant to post something online, but the ramifications can be great. We’ve seen the evidence of how poor judgment online can come back and cost people their (potential) careers. In this election alone, there have been multiple candidate resignations due to social media flubs and I don’t think we’ve seen the last of them either; there are still 31 days left in the campaign.
There are a few points that were really hammered home for me today when it comes to social media that I wanted to share.
- Just because you think something is funny doesn’t mean others will. Sometimes it’s best just to laugh at something and leave it alone.
- Sarcasm does not translate online. People cannot hear tone, and if they don’t know you, they may not be aware of your voice behind the message.
- Be aware of what is going on in the world; timing is everything and you need to know how something you say could be interpreted in light of current events
- Be aware of how your post might be interpreted by your opponents and how it could be used against you.
- If you get called out on something, try to look at it to see if there is merit to the criticism. If you’re in the wrong, apologize quickly and authentically.
There is one lesson above all that I’ve really learned this election cycle; while I am a partisan Liberal – and staunch advocate for Justin Trudeau, the Liberal Party of Canada, and its candidates – I don’t do well in partisan ‘attack’ mode. Any time that I have gone down that route, which hasn’t been often, I have found myself either backtracking or needing to clarify or apologize for my remarks. But this may not be a bad thing. Part of the issue that we are finding with the Canadian political scene is that voters don’t like the nasty, divisive, ‘partisanship’ politics they’ve seen over the past 10 years. When voter turnout is at an all-time low, perhaps it is time to reconsider the way we do things. I know I will be. It’s a good reminder to everyone; you are only one tweet, one post away from getting in trouble. And with the internet, nothing is ever truly deleted.