What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. But what happens on Twitter stays on Google forever. I was recently reminded by a fellow blogger “We’re all publishers now”. This post is about considering the ethical perspective of those who are actually reading your output, is it OK to break a few eggs and why are ethics so important?
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Your online output
Sometimes it might feel like our missives enter a vacuum. But many people are reading your content and what you write, without actually interacting. I know I read a lot more online than I actually comment on. Do you?
The sort of things that turned me off are discussions that turned into arguments, invites to “networking events” that turned into sales pitches and people who were OK in the flesh and turned nasty in other forums.
If people don’t like anything you put out there, they’re not always going to tell you, but they will reference it when someone they know asks what they think of you. Very few people can satisfy all of the people all of the time. Yet even Murdoch won over some of his detractors with his personality during recent hearings.
The same applies when employers are asked to give references. They are only compelled to confirm that an individual worked for them between certain dates which leaves a big hole for our imagination to fill. If you really have to “break a few eggs” (avoid if at all possible) whilst trying to get a job done you still want people to talk about the smashing omelette that left them satisfied.
The crowbar faux pas
One faux pas I observed recently was in a networking group. A new member tried to crowbar their friend into a request for assistance. I’m sure they don’t realise they damaged their reputation when their friend made direct contact with an unsuspecting and busy MD. This could have been avoided if they had made a positive impact in other areas. They didn’t. It was a smash and grab.
The unsaid is the gap that networking offline and online can fill. Murdoch has taken advantage of his right to reply yet he didn’t have many advocates which left me wondering, why is that if he’s as personable as he made out? If someone simply didn’t get on with you it’s extremely beneficial to have clients and colleagues paint a more complete picture of your ethical perspective.
Wrap up: The only way IS ethics. We might not like or buy into the current crop of “reality” TV shows but they do highlight faux pas that happen in real life (ignore the Geography). People from Essex I know are great and extremely Ethical!
Top tip: Always ask someone in a group about the etiquette before you dive in. When people are talking about you ensure there is no doubt about just how ethical you are in business. It is a differentiator that opens doors.
Who to share this with: Groups looking for new members or online forums where arguments often break out.
Further Reading: What are you doing to your brand on LinkedIn