Operations

When Authenticity Clashes With Professionalism

Lexi Tucker
Posted on December 4, 2018

Near the end of the 2016 election campaign, 37% of social media users said they were worn out by the political content they encountered, and large shares said social media interactions with those opposed to their views were stressful and frustrating. Source: Pew Research Center
Near the end of the 2016 election campaign, 37% of social media users said they were worn out by the political content they encountered, and large shares said social media interactions with those opposed to their views were stressful and frustrating. Source: Pew Research Center
When the world was first graced (or cursed, depending on your point of view) with social media, we were excited. In fact, some of us probably felt a little like celebrities. It allowed us to connect with long lost friends and relatives who lived coasts or continents away. We felt like people could gain a deeper understanding of ourselves by reading posts about our hopes, fears, and dreams — what we didn’t realize, however, was that som     etimes those posts written in anger, sadness, or frustration could get us into heaps of trouble years later.

I know you’ve probably read columns in a variety of trade publications about social media etiquette before. I want to address something that isn’t talked about as much as it should be: Privacy. Time and again I see fellow Millennials as well as older generations who have Facebook pages state, “It’s my personal page. I can post whatever I want.”

During the July 2017 survey period, 57% of female respondents who have experienced online abuse stated they had experienced harassment via Facebook. Source: Statista
During the July 2017 survey period, 57% of female respondents who have experienced online abuse stated they had experienced harassment via Facebook. Source: Statista
I’m not here to deny this fact. I’m not writing this column to dictate what you can and can’t post. You may think since you have your profile set so only friends can view your posts, you’re safe from those who may be out to get you. Or that you’re a member of a private group and only those with similar ideas and virtues can see what you’re talking about. That’s simply not true.

While social media has brought people together, it has unfortunately also torn us apart. We are humans, and we won’t always agree with the ideas, feelings, and business practices of everyone else. It’s fine to have a healthy, intellectual debate and challenge your long-held assumptions. But sinking to name calling, slurs, or threats isn’t the right way to do this.

Please realize there are plenty of free tools anyone can use to take a screenshot of anything you post. Windows has Snipping Tool. Apple has similar software. You’ve got Jing, Gyazo, Greenshot…the list goes on. People are vengeful, and will not pause to think before they post that exchange they had with you in a Facebook “private” message to your business page as a review.

69% of job seekers are likely to reject an employment offer from a company with a bad online reputation. Source: Reputation X
69% of job seekers are likely to reject an employment offer from a company with a bad online reputation. Source: Reputation X
This is why I’m leaving you with a challenge to help you reflect on your past and improve in the future. Facebook has a function called “Memories.” Through this, you are able to see what you’ve posted since the very start of your Facebook journey on a daily basis. On desktop, it’s on the left-hand sidebar under “Explore.” On the iPhone mobile app, it can be found under the three bars at the bottom right under “Memories.”

70% of U.S. recruiters and HR professionals have rejected candidates based on information they found online. Source: Forbes, 2010
70% of U.S. recruiters and HR professionals have rejected candidates based on information they found online. Source: Forbes, 2010
I challenge you to look at it first thing every day, and delete anything you feel doesn’t represent the kind of person you are today. Whether you’re a Millennial whose adult life is just beginning, or a Baby Boomer who has changed over the years, this practice will not only help you clean out the proverbial closet, but help you reflect on how all of your conduct reflects on your business. Please note this is only for what you’ve posted on your personal page, not groups; you’ll have to go through those separately.

I remember talking to Kirk Bagger, owner of Captain’s Car Service in Cleveland, Ohio, for a piece in the September 2018 issue where he discussed how he always wears a suit even if he’s picking up a friend or family member. “You never know who’s watching. Represent yourself as a professional 24/7,” he told me. In that case, think of your social media profiles as an extension of your vehicles, with your words reflecting your service levels.

I have met hundreds of operators over the three years I’ve been with LCT. Nearly all of them have been stand-up people. I’m not the social media police, nor do I want to be. You have to police yourselves. This may be a free country, but that might not matter to some of your most illustrious clients. 

LEXI TUCKER is LCT associate editor and coordinator of the LCT Fast 40, a group of operators under 40 who collaborate and learn from each other about all aspects of chauffeured transportation. She can be reached at [email protected]

Related Topics: business management, entrepreneurship, How To, Millennial Matters, Millennials, social media

Lexi Tucker Associate Editor
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