If You Don’t Have Something Nice to Say [on Facebook]….

…You know what’s coming…

Don’t say anything at all.

Try this as an experiment:

1. Write down a bunch of  random experiences you’ve had on post its – your nasty breakup, that weird little bump on your inner arm, the location of your cat’s last hairball, the time you tried headcheese, etc.

2). Stick the post-its all over your body and then go walk around in your neighborhood.

Does that sound ridiculous? That’s because IT TOTALLY IS. And it’s what many of us do, every day, from the comfort of our computers.

As my mom used to say, “I’m rubber and you’re glue, and everything you say bounces off me and sticks to YOU.” The internet is glue. The strongest glue ever. Once it’s there, it’s there forever. Keep that in mind next time you want to post about your coworker’s nose-picking habit.

Your Network is MUCH Larger Than You Think.

When we think of our network, we tend to underestimate our reach. We think of our close friends, our families, and old classmates. We don’t remember all the people we’ve accepted friend requests from, and we certainly don’t take into account who our friends know. There’s a whole lot of people listening to you. Kind of creepy, right? Good. Now go and do some friend-editing. I’ll wait.

What You Say Today Can Hurt You Tomorrow

“But, I don’t have any coworkers on my friend list – no one will ever know,” you might be thinking. That may be true. But people on your friend list may, in the future, be colleagues or job leads. If you lost your job today, say because you’re on Facebook all the time (wink, wink), you’ll probably want to reach out to people in your network as a way to find something new. If your last post was “Man, my boss is such a LUNATIC!!”, well, folks might be a little reticent about working with you.

Not to mention, you’ll forget about your lunatic post in a couple of days and you’ll accept a friend request from the gal over in marketing. She’s in marketing. She’ll talk.

It Makes You Look Bad

It just does. When people have constant complaints – not the occasional “Man, I can’t wait for this day to be over” but the barrage of negativity that some folks unleash on a regular basis – it makes them seem unpleasant, the kind of person that will talk about his or her problems all day if you were to see them in person. Which you won’t. And neither will their prospective employer/wife/husband.

So, feel free to be yourself on Facebook, express your innermost feelings, desires, and dreams. But when you’re having a bad work day, do the old-fashioned thing: call up your friends and meet them for happy hour or a nice meal after work. You can connect, share stories and laughs, and most importantly, keep your stories limited to a small audience. Your future thanks you.

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