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The line that should not be crossed: When social media goes wrong

The line that should not be crossed: When social media goes wrong

By Darrin Friedman


Although many people do not seem to realize it, there is a line that can all too easily be crossed on social media between what is acceptable and what is inappropriate. Unfortunately, we all have friends on Facebook, or the like, who use social media platforms to spew their unfiltered thoughts and feelings about whatever is going on in their lives, especially when their (usually negative) emotions are running high. However, as real estate agents, we do not have the luxury of indulging in this kind of juvenile behavior, despite the temporary satisfaction that such of freedom of speech may give.  

After all, if we were to take the liberty of posting whatever came into our minds at any given moment -- no matter how petty, judgmental, or hurtful the content -- our words could easily influence an existing or potential client, and not in a positive way! And just a single post, just one moment of weakness, can have a lasting impact on how others see us.

It has amazed me over the years just how foolish some of us can be about sharing our opinions online, and how carelessly and casually we may choose where and when to put them out there. Had a long and exhausting day out with a client? Just get online and slam them on Facebook! The agent on the other side of your deal is giving you a hard time? Put it out there for everyone to see! Mad at your manager? Let the whole wide world know about it. These are just a few of the self-destructive ways I have seen agents permanently wound themselves and their reputations online.

But this blog is about helping, not blaming. Allow me to share some ideas to help you stave off Social Media Madness when you feel it coming on:

1. Step away from the "post" button! If you are feeling mad, sad, angry, or frustrated, especially regarding anything business-related, you could cause yourself irreparable damage if you put it on Facebook for everyone to see. In fact, to avoid temptation during those moments when your tensions are running high, the best strategy is to shut off your device and store it out of your reach. Do anything to keep yourself away from accessing your social network at times when you most want to vent. Just turn it off. In addition to situations involving anger or other negative emotions, this advice applies to any time you are a) under the influence of something that impairs your judgment, or b) feeling especially passionate about a political or religious issue or event.

2. Handwrite how you feel. If you have to get your feelings off your chest, take out a pen and pad, and write a letter to yourself by hand. It's old school, yes, but it really helps, and it will most likely help soften that urge you had to post something incendiary. It may even be therapeutic; most people feel better after the process of journaling their feelings. It might even get to be a healthy habit!

3.  Talk to someone. Remove your thumbs from the keyboard, and instead use your phone the way it was originally intended: to reach out and call someone you trust. Phone a friend or loved one and air your frustration, sadness, or fury to them. There is nothing like an actual conversation with a supportive friend to help you feel better. And when you're finished, be sure to remind that person that you're always here to do the same thing for them whenever they need someone to talk them through a tough moment.