Jane Binion column

Jane Binnion from Lancaster, social media trainer.
Jane Binnion from Lancaster, social media trainer.

Two weeks ago I wrote about young people and social media and whose responsibility it is to guide them so that they don’t damage their reputation and lose out on future opportunities.

This is a massive social issue which unfortunately many young people are having to figure out for themselves as they see the adults around them being pretty hopeless.

Over the next few weeks I’m chuffed to be the support act for ACAS’s North West tour – I’m delivering a presentation to managers and HR officers about training their staff so that they know what is and is not appropriate to share online.

I know that sounds like a bit of a no brainier, but sadly far too many people are being disciplined, losing their jobs and even in some cases arrested, for posting things on Facebook after a hard day at work, or on twitter when their boss has just annoyed them.

We used to go down the pub to let off steam, and yes most of us have been unprofessional at times when we’ve had the day from hell - but now that that stuff is being said online it stays there. ‘It was private!’ is the cry from people from all walks of life, that are caught and disciplined, or sacked.

Nope it’s really not. Once it’s online it’s very public. You may have your privacy settings locked down, but anyone that likes or comments on your post is then sharing it amongst their ‘friends’.

It’s said that there are just six degrees of separation between any of us, which means that those comments are going to get back to your boss – pretty quickly.

Social media is still very new; twitter is just seven years old, and things change so quickly. Without a doubt we are experiencing a communication revolution and I love it. I’m all for people having a voice, but we really do have to take care and think before we post online. Some opinions really do not need to be shared publicly.

As I often say, that extra pint ,or glass of wine makes us think we’re hilarious, but by the time we sober up and realise what we shared with the world, it’s too late .

We do have responsibilities to ourselves, our employer and to those around us, so if you’re not sure what is and is not ok then please ask your line manager to explain their policy. And if they don’t know, well you can always ask your kids.