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Behave Yourself

On social media, what you post and how you interact with others can dramatically improve or damage your career.

For many users, social media is perceived as a virtual world where good behavior is optional. Where should you draw the line? Here are five things that you should never do or tolerate on any social media platform.

Fall 2015 Find in
Fall 2015

Engage Trolls:

When giving this advice, I'm assuming that you aren't a troll who posts snarky remarks—usually from a bogus account—that are meant to hurt or anger others.

Even so, you could still be baited into rolling in the mud with them by criticizing their behavior, or even just trying to defend the person who's in their cross hairs.

In every case, instead of speaking up and giving them a perfect opportunity to spew more hate, block them.

Tolerate Haters:

All trolls are haters, but not all haters are trolls. Trolls are random haters that post insulting or outrageous comments without having any real connection to your page.

Haters, on the other hand, can be visitors with a legitimate interest in what you're posting.

The problem with the latter is that when a post sets them off—and it usually doesn't take much—they post hateful comments like, “OMG, she looks like a clown!” or “Photoshopped!”

Truth: By allowing their comments to remain on your page, it's inevitable that other haters will join in.

My advice is to block nasty offenders and warn others who are agreeing with them. Who needs that kind of negativity? No one!

Suffer Bullies:

Bullies, who are a special breed of haters, love to attack you on a personal level. Whatever reason they make up to justify their behavior, their actions are unacceptable.

Unless mean-spirited people are also bullying you in real life, being pushed around is optional. I say this because the online community that you interact with is actually curated by you and only seen from your point-of-view.

If you belong to a group that allows bullying, move on to another group with similar interests. If one or more bullies are trying to torment you through social media, resist the urge to defend yourself and simply block them. (I recognize that elementary, middle school and high school bullying are more complex, but children in these age groups aren't part of our target audience.)


Unless you enjoy heated political debates or other hot topics and enjoy the flack, arguing is a lose-lose proposition. Online arguments can damage valuable relationships and throw shade on your online presence. If users strongly object to something you've posted, I recommend that you resist engaging them in a debate and move on. (Hint: Choose a new and unrelated topic for your next post!)


You may think that you're close enough to your followers to vent about something that really bothered you that day or to share pet peeves, but you're not. Some people will make sympathetic comments, but what about the other 1,000 or more followers who read your post and don't comment? Save your bitching and moaning for your best friends and even then, think twice—make that three times—before you unload on them.

The one exception to this rule is posting a positive insight about a negative event: a rude waiter made you realize how damaging an unpleasant encounter with a client could be to your business; a mix-up in scheduling reminded you to be more vigilant of your bookings by doing X, Y and Z.

Best Behavior

In a nutshell, when interacting online, always practice what you learned as a child: If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all. Respond to others the way you want them to respond to you. Always take the high road. Make friends, not enemies. It's better to walk away from a fi ght. And, strictly from my point-ofview, when you're having a bad day, it's rarely a good time to interact online.

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