You've seen Facebook rants about long hours spent toiling in the office, tweets regarding a recent argument with a coworker or Snapchats of someone's desk at work. While it may be common, it's also unprofessional to post about your work life on your personal social media accounts.
"Your professional and personal life may overlap, but it's best to set some hard lines that you cannot cross," said Courtney Spritzer and Stephanie Cartin, co-CEOs and co-founders of Socialfly. "When it comes to social media, employers are becoming savvier about how they recruit talent, and especially in our business, a potential employee's social media is something we take into consideration."
While it's fine to post the occasional positive message about your team or company culture, any drama or complaints about work should always be kept private from the rest of the world. Here's what you're risking by oversharing. [Concerned about your habits online? Don't make these social media mistakes.]
Giving yourself a bad name
If you post about work drama, your current and potential employers won't be impressed. According to Spritzer and Cartin, ranting about issues will insinuate you're not a team player, thereby jeopardizing future career opportunities.
"When others only know you by your posts, and your posts tend toward a drama of the day, you tend to come across as immature, attention-seeking and overly needy," Gail Z. Martin, author of The Essential Social Media Marketing Handbook (Career Press, 2017). "You don't appear to be handling your problems in a mature way if everything is a rant, or you have to take a poll to know what to do."
When you're looking for a new job, Martin added, you'll want to be sure your social media is clean of work details, positive or negative. Too much strips you of professionalism.
Damaging your employer's reputation
No company is perfect, including its workers. Venting about your boss or co-workers online drags your company down with you.
"You can't know how many customers, potential customers, co-workers – maybe even donors, board members and shareholders – see your social media posts," said Martin. "When you share work drama, you are not only setting yourself up in a negative light as potentially whiny and ineffective, but you are placing your company in a bad light as well."
Posting permanent content
Once you post ideas and emotions, you can't take them back. It's easy to get caught up in the moment, flustered by an argument or angry about unfair circumstances. However, issues are often fleeting; once you turn to the internet, they're permanent. Even if you delete posts, people can take screenshots and forward posts to others.
"[These] issues are best raised through official channels (HR) or privately among a few close friends if you need to let off steam,” said Martin. "Social media is public and permanent. You have no idea who might see your post, even if you think you've got your sharing settings locked down."
Causing issues among workers
Discussing promotions, salary and the like can spark jealousy among co-workers, according to Martin. It's better to keep details private.
"One particular risk would be if you were to get a promotion and share the details of your new role across your social channels; you may be breaching a company policy without realizing [it]," said Spritzer and Cartin. "Snapchatting about an interview opportunity, for example, may seem like you are purely sharing your excitement, but to your potential employer, it comes off as unprofessional because you have not gotten the job offer."
This isn't to say you can't announce a new position or role change in a modest manner, such as listing it in your work experience on Facebook. However, there's a fine line between celebrating and oversharing.