On June 9, 2017, CNN fired, or parted ways with, Reza Aslan for anti-Trump tweets. Justine Sacco was fired from her job following the furor her racist and insensitive Tweet caused after it went viral. These people did not choose their words carefully? What can you learn from this?
Plain and simple: our words matter. We are never too big or too small for our words not to have some impact. Reza had a big social media footprint while Justine only had a small social media footprint. We are the ones who choose what happens next with our words.
Now please do not get me wrong. We do have the right to free speech. We do have the right to cry out against things. But can we not do it in a civil way that still gets our point across? Does it always have to result in name calling and derogatory remarks?
We have a choice to make every time we speak. Our words have the ability to either build up or tear down a person. Our social media can be either positive or negative. What we say on social media really does matter. How we write things also matters.
Remember, with social media, we do not have the benefit of eye to eye contact so the people we are speaking to only have our words to go by. They cannot hear laughter in our tone or see the expression in our face. We cannot take for granted that what we write will be perceived the same way we intended. Our words carry weight.
[Social media tips: Our words carry weight. We need to make sure we bring out the best in others with kind words.]
The Problem our words can bring us:
We do not have to use social media very long before we see others trying to destroy someone. There are some mean and nasty people out there. Sometimes they will post things online that they wouldn’t dream of saying to a person’s face; and that’s simply because of the anonymity that comes with being on line. The good thing is that we can rise above these people and create a positive image for our brand or our business.
I once saw a business owner go crazy over a customer who stole her online training material. That thief paid with PayPal, downloaded all the training material over 24 hours, and then canceled the payment. That business owner had every right to get paid for what that person had downloaded the day before. There is no question about that. But when I saw her call this person every name in the book on social media, my respect for her as a businessperson was greatly diminished.
Some things are better dealt with off-line, with your email, the phone or in person. As a business owner, there is no upside to berating people online. It makes us look petty and unprofessional and in the long run it will cost us far more than we could hope to gain.
The Solution involves choosing our words rightly:
Let’s look at it from the positive side. Your reputation is everything, so if you continue to build it in a positive way, then it will create a lot of goodwill for you and others online. These people might even actually look forward to meeting us in person because of the great atmosphere we have set for ourselves and others.
Kind words are like honey. Everyone looks forward to hearing kind words, even if they aren’t about them. When others see your kinds words written about someone who posted unkind or mean remarks, it will say a lot about you and your company.
I am a big believer in the Golden Rule: “What goes around, comes around!” or more succinctly “What you do to others, they will do to you!” It is my intention to receive kind words from others. In order for that to happen, I need to seed the internet, at least my little corner of it, with kind words for others. This will go a long way towards creating a great on-line reputation for myself and those who visit me on-line.
What should we do today?
If we had previously gone around the internet giving others as good as they gave us, we need to take a minute and rethink it. My grandfather used to say… “You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.”
Another famous line comes to mind as well… “If you cannot say anything good about someone, then do not say anything.”
If we want our businesses to thrive on social media, and have others look at us in a positive light, than we need to take the high road and sow the internet with kind words. We need to stop bad-mouthing people because it does not look good on our business.
Things we can do today:
The next time you visit someone’s social media account, leave them a thank you for all the great things they have done for you. It only takes a minute to look through their posts to find something positive to talk about. Congratulate them for something they accomplished. Share something that they do well as a business. Birthday wishes that are genuine go over well too.
If they are doing a good job, recommend them to others, and explain why people should do business with them.
Want more? Here’s some more links to great information: