I felt inspired to post this after a recent Facebook experience with one of my old broadcasting contacts. I had lost touch with him after a few years so I decided to reconnect with him on Facebook to say hi and schmooze a bit.
He accepted my friend request immediately and a few minutes later, began instant messaging me. I’m not a huge fan of IM (especially when I’m trying to meet a writing deadline), but what the heck. I decided to engage in a chat with him, and to my surprise, the happy-go-lucky, easygoing guy had turned quite negative.
As it turned out, he was let go from his on-air radio gig a year earlier and has been trying to find work every since. So I tried giving him a pep talk, stressing his strongest skills while – from a social standpoint – advising him on various spots in the city that he could still frequent without breaking the bank. My encouraging words were met with a smiley emoticon and that was that.
In the days and weeks following our exchange, I couldn’t help but notice a plethora of status updates on his timeline – each one darker than the last one – especially cutting remarks about hiring managers who had turned him down for jobs. He even went as far as saying he was going to de-friend anyone who viewed his posts as negative. And he did!
While social media can be a good source of online therapy (which I’ve mentioned before), there is a danger of crossing the line. You cannot be too negative or else you’ll come across as bitter. And if you vent too much – like criticizing recruiters or other potential job sources – who the heck is going to want to hire you?
Sure, you can change your settings to private, but we all know that a good deal of our Facebook friends are present and former colleagues in the biz. Word gets around. It isn’t long before others get wind of your rants.
Instead of venting on social media, keep your rants offline. That way, you don’t risk tarnishing your image. Remember: there’s no crying in freelance life! You chose this lifestyle so it’s important to keep a stiff upper lift and roll with the punches. You’ll be stronger for it in the end.