Protecting Against Viral Sabotage

by Jeran Fraser

With the world of social media ever evolving it can be a challenge learning how to properly leverage virtual connections. The majority of the population uses these platforms with a cavalier approach. But if you’re careful of who and how you connect, there’s a wealth of value on just about any social-media platform.

I look at my virtual life as an asset. I value my friendships both on and offline and keep things as private as I can. I share intimate life moments online with people I know because, in reality, who wants to share information with strangers. It’s important to differentiate business and personal life and it’s even more important when it comes to social media. We see it happen all the time, where someone thinks that no one is watching and they post freely on their Facebook, only to realize a bit too late that their boss is a Facebook friend. It’s really important that you understand what to say and what not to say, as well as when and how to say it.

One major aspect that has changed over the last couple of years with Facebook is how posts are shown in our friend’s news feed. If you’ve posted something and thought to yourself, “Why isn’t anyone liking or commenting,” you are not alone. Facebook’s approach to showing updates in a feed is difficult to explain. Facebook has a method of showing only posts that are engaging and relevant to other friends, so that you no longer have to read the barrage of updates from those “certain” friends who like to explain, in detail, their breakfast, lunch and dinner. Next time you post something and you’re puzzled that no one has commented or liked the post, chances are only few have seen it. If you want to be seen or heard on Facebook you’re now forced to post engaging material. Now before you bang your head against the wall, we must not forget that Facebook is a free platform. Let’s look at the bright side; our virtual happiness is free of charge (well, free minus the habitual bombardment
of ads).

With Facebook owning all things personal online, we allow Linkedin to infiltrate our business lives. Between both platforms there leaves little to be digitally desired. Linkedin has a news feed similar to Facebook with an emphasis on our network of business connections. Linkedin is an amazing tool, and when leveraged correctly can be an excellent resource for introductions and connections to those second- and third-degree contacts. But there’s a dark side to Linkedin and that is what I like to call the “connection black hole,” which simply refers to unknown and invaluable people in your Linkedin network. Some may beg to differ, but I believe there is an importance in knowing each and every contact on your Linkedin account and even more important is how you handle those connections.

Linkedin recently released a tool allowing people to write or blog but, like Facebook, you’ll want to be careful spewing anything more than engaging and helpful content. I recently read one of these new posts that was shared from someone in my network, only to see that there were at least seven spelling mistakes and plenty more grammatical errors in a short, three-paragraph rant about a car manufacturer. This person just so happened to be someone I was looking at hiring, but unfortunately his article gave me a better look at my future employee who lacked a little attention to detail.

You are only as valuable in the business world as your network, and protecting that network is extremely important. If you’re making an introduction with one person in your network to another, make sure you trust both connections. It doesn’t take much to lose credibility for making an introduction gone bad. Build your network, engage them and always remember what goes online, stays online.