To Tweet, Or Not To Tweet?

That IS The Question!
Whether ‘tis nobler to exhibit discretion when it comes to sharing your thoughts and experiences via Twitter, Facebook or other online social medium, or to just let it roll out your brain and onto the screens of your network of friends, family, admirers, and complete strangers.  Because once it goes out, there is no taking it back.
Communication via online social network is not private! Too often this basic point is easily forgotten, and something we intended to share only among what we thought was a limited and specific group of people, winds up going viral and onto the computer and smart phone screens of people we do not know.  It is difficult enough to communicate your emotions via the written word to the people you do know, let alone have your words accurately understood by those who do not know you and may not recognize the subtle intent of your irony or humor.
Is it worth looking foolish, ignorant or insensitive?  Is it worth looking unprofessional?
Do you even care how others perceive your online musings?
You should care!!!
And you should exercise at least a modicum of good judgment and prudence before hitting the Send button!
A couple of weeks ago, it came to my attention that a woman – who by coincidence also provides career advice – tweeted about something that happened while she was in the middle of a meeting.
Should she have been doing unrelated tasks like online social networking in the middle of a meeting?
She was twittering about something very personal – that she was going through a miscarriage during that meeting – and couldn’t wait to let everyone know about it.
Why didn’t she excuse herself from the meeting and attend to herself in private, or seek medical assistance, attention or consultation?
Apparently, the woman was not distressed about losing her unborn child; in fact, it was reported she was gleeful about the occurrence.
Whether this woman wanted or did not want her pregnancy to come to term is her personal issue, and her personal choice.  But I do question the complete lack of tastefulness, appropriateness, propriety and professionalism exhibited by her taking the time to send this message during a business meeting.
Certainly this is an extreme example.  Nonetheless it is a good illustration that drives home the point that what you post often reaches people way beyond your inner circle.
Did the woman intend for the Washington Post to pick up on the news of her miscarriage?  It did!
Look!  My comments are not about Twitter, Facebook or any social networking site.  These sites can be used as valuable tools for job search, networking, marketing, promotion and interpersonal communications.
But I am concerned with the disrespect demonstrated by their use during inappropriate times!  It no longer surprises me when I hear that someone has been fired for texting during meetings or during business hours in general!
Yes, the newer smart phones can be great tools for taking notes during meetings, forwarding reminders to oneself, or accessing important documents or information.  But if you are not using your phone for directly related activities, the thing should be turned off, or in silent mode, and stored in your pocket, purse, briefcase or on your belt, not in your hands.  Period!
Texting while in meetings is just plain wrong!  And just because coworkers, supervisors or clients don’t say anything about your doing so, doesn’t mean they haven’t taken notice.  Both the content and the action can come back to bite you in the butt.
So the next time you have the urge to tweet, show some judicious restraint.  Not doing so could save your job and your professional image!
Oh yeah, and PLEASE, no texting while driving either!
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