There will always be those who will post online comments containing opinionated, biased or prejudiced points of view giving little or no consideration to what could be perceived by many as offensive content. Some will openly admit they could care less about how anyone else feels or what anyone else thinks. Whether an attempt to mask insecurity or simply a display of arrogance, the negative impact on your personal and professional reputation will severely limit opportunities for advancment in your career.
Diplomacy, intelligence, confidence, articulation, consideration and validity should be clearly evident in every online comment you choose to share with the world! Your reputation and your brand are key to managing a successful career. One online comment sent in haste or in the heat of the moment has the potential to seriously damage your reputation and result in lost opportunities. Inappropriate or negative comments tend to leave lasting impressions and only recently I found myself in a situation to refer an individual but couldn’t clearly recall why I wasn’t comfortable in doing so. After some deliberation I recalled an offensive and insulting online rant that they had become embroiled in. If this individual could not maintain professional behaviour when all the world was watching, how would they perform on the job? Needless to say, I was unable to offer a personal recommendation and unknown to the potential candidate, an opportunity was lost. Is it possible that your online comments have limited your career advancement?
Those who are successfully achieving regular advancements in their career are not apt to offend others with online comments but rather to show consistent, mutual respect and consideration. This earned respect generates a larger audience enabling you to share thoughts and ideas with those interested in listening, inspiring support and increasing opportunities for success.
One of the most renowned Canadians of our time is Chris Hadfield. You need only listen to him speak for a few minutes to understand the magnitude of his achievements and his genuineness as a human being. He is one of the top astronauts in the world and will be the first Canadian astronaut to command the International Space Station. What does this have to do with online comments? Despite this commendable achievement announced in a CBC News article about a truly amazing individual it has produced many negative online comments. I’m not suggesting you waste your time reading them, but what should be noted is the overwhelming support for the positive comments indicated by a thumbs up versus the negative comments with a thumbs down.
Another way to lose respect and damage your reputation is to post online comments that are based on a unique sense of humour. You know who you are if your sense of humour tends to be misunderstood by the majority of people so posting what you believe to be a humorous online comment is a risk you may want to consider very carefully. It won’t get a laugh if it is misunderstood or perceived as offensive.
Finally, don’t count on anonymity to post slanderous, blastphemous or threatening online comments. Online rants carry big legal risks, an article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune by David G. Savage states, “Although bloggers may have a free-speech right to say what they want online, courts have found that they are not protected from being sued for their comments, even if they are posted anonymously.”
What are you saying online?