Who Is On Your 'Virtual Board Of Directors?'
October 21, 2014
Early on in the social space, I realized these platforms were often being used to communicate emotions and feelings. And as someone who was tasked with developing a social culture for an entire broadcasting company, I had to find a way to watch what I said socially in order to lead by example.
So I created my own pseudo-panel of people that would serve as my filter -- people whose opinions mattered to me. Before posting, I would ask myself if my "Virtual Board of Directors" would approve of what I was about to say.
That's because the advent of social media did not mean that we can all of a sudden say and do whatever we please without accountability -- there are still lines you don't want to cross.
Social media is often the barometer of emotional response. People aren't always posting what they're thinking as much as they're posting what they are feeling. Oftentimes, they are showing their unbridled spirit -- which can be funny, but can also be cringe-worthy or even problematic.
We've seen on-air talent get in trouble, get suspended, and worse, lose their jobs after posting or tweeting in the heat of the moment.
And these spur of the moment tweets, without filters, keep happening.
While live-tweeting Viola Davis's new show "How to Get Away With Murder," People magazine fired off an awkward, and what many called insensitive joke:
The quote references Davis's line from her role in "The Help," where she played a maid in Mississippi in the 1960s. As you can imagine, it didn't go over well on Twitter:
You get the gist -- Twitter lit up against the magazine's tweet. So People felt compelled to tweet the subsequent "my bad" that brands continue to have to do to apologize for errant social outbursts and attempts at humor:
It's important to feel content through every person's eye. And while this People example may not feel as bad as others we've seen in the past, the fact is people just can't seem to hold it together on social platforms.
If you Google "deleted tweets," you'll find fresh "mea culpa" stories each week:
Avoid embarrassing headlines.
Populate your virtual Board of Directors today with in-tune people from different spheres of your life:
Personally -- who needs to be on this board?
For example, my daughter has a position on my 'board.' It matters to me to hold a higher standard for her, even if it's socially.
- Professionally -- who expects better?
Of course my bosses, Fred and Paul Jacobs, have a seat on this virtual board. They haven't worked 30 years at building a respected company just to have someone with a lack of discipline chip away at its reputation.
There are also people who follow me and will see my social posts, people like Entercom CEO/David Field, All Access President/Joel Denver, and other industry leaders, some national celebs I've connected with, and friends that don't even know they sit on this virtual board.
Their opinions matter -- so they are part of this filtered process.
Once the "Virtual Board of Directors" is set, think of them before you speak. Ask yourself:
- Is this post or tweet necessary?
- Does it bring value to the "Board?"
- Does it help define how I want to be perceived?
This is not to imply that to stay out of trouble you have to become vanilla. It's to encourage discipline - one of the greatest characteristics you can apply socially. But in order to do so, we must harness the ego.
Trust in the value of your reputation (what people remember).
The quickest way to erode it is to give into the heat of the moment.
Reach out to me anytime on Twitter @lorilewis.
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