A few weeks ago, the White House announced that it had fired staff member, Jofi Joseph, after it was revealed that Joseph was tweeting sensitive government information and snarky insults about high profile political leaders under an anonymous account for two years.
Unabashedly candid with his disparaging and derogatory comments, Joseph has since apologized for his actions, but many speculate Joseph’s days on Capitol Hill are forever over.
Professionals should take this incident as a cautionary tale of how visible you truly are with online media. Once something is published on the Internet, it’s very difficult to permanently erase the content. The biggest concern is that the Internet allows users to easily copy, store, and publish content that isn’t even their own. Joseph’s Twitter account has been deleted, yet there are still websites that publish his entire history of tweets for users to view.
So how can you avoid all of this? Craft a positive online media presence by running a “New York Times Test” every time you tweet. Here are some tips:
- Ask yourself if you would want the content to be read on the front cover. If your answer is no, then you should definitely reevaluate before you click publish.
- Make sure your online content represents your brand. Your online media presence is vital to your overall reputation and brand.
- Remain authentic. You want to remain authentic with your content, but be conscious of what message and image you might convey.
- Think about who your content could be affecting. Your personal online media presence can affect the reputation of your professional employer or company. In Joseph’s case, many experts have speculated that he may have potentially harmed his wife’s political career as well.
As online media continues to expand, employers are starting to monitor the online media presence of their company, employees, clients, and even potential employees. Just as you would in person, always follow the golden rule: think before you act (or tweet or share or like or comment).