While, most employers do their best to give their employees an idea of their expectations, the employee handbook doesn't cover everything... here are some things to think about before you post anything to Facebook.
Privacy issues: Frustrated about something that happened to you at work? Resist the urge to post it. You never know what someone else will be able to misconstrue as a breech of privacy. Teachers, medical workers, or anyone who deals with sensitive information would be much better off not posting about work. (Photo courtesy of Marshillonline at Flickr.com)
A long-term substitute teacher who recently posted a comment about being assaulted by a special needs student at her school was shocked when she was fired that evening. "I didn't give the child's name but I did give an age, and most of my friends knew what classroom I worked in... so while I didn't intend to breech any privacy laws, all it took was someone calling the principal with the info and I was out of a job within two hours of the post. No warnings. No second chances."
Photo posting: You must think carefully about every photo you post. It may not even be a photo of you or someone you know, but something you think is interesting... that will offend someone else or violate ethical rules. While these are just a few examples, it is proof things like this do happen.
An EMT in New York was fired within hours of arriving on the scene of a murder and posting photos of the victim and the crime scene on Facebook from his cell phone.
A teacher was placed on administrative leave after posting a photo of herself with her rifle aimed at the camera (and unsafely at the person holding the camera).
Photo tagging: Check your photos regularly to make sure you haven't been tagged in a photo that could get you in trouble.
While you my be careful to only post tasteful photos of yourself, a friend who thinks it is funny to post photos of you passed out after a night drinking or in your bathing suit at the beach may not think twice about what messages they are sending out to your friends and co-workers. If your job has a morals clause or you work with children, check your privacy settings so that people can't see photos you have been tagged in without your approval.
Selective friending: How many Facebook friends do you have? 100? 200? 700? Can you remember everyone you have ever 'friended'? Chances are, if you post something you shouldn't, someone you don't want to see it will either see it, or be told about it.
I'm sure this girl thought she could vent on Facebook without worrying.
Quizzes and games: There is nothing wrong with most of the quizzes and games you will play on Facebook. While a few are tasteless, most are just simple fun. The problem is when those games and quizzes post your scores or your results to your wall for your friends to see with time stamps.
If your boss gets online and sees you have improved Farkle score three times in the last hour... you can pretty much bet that you won't have that job much longer.
Because of the things above, some people have quit Facebook entirely. In fact, even Bill Gates quit Facebook this summer after receiving over 10,000 friend requests. And, while quitting Facebook entirely is a bit extreme, one just has to remember to turn up the privacy settings and think before they post to keep from causing themselves or others a lot of problems.
Check back soon or subscribe to Kindall Nelson's email alerts above for updates on this and similar stories. (Your email address will not be shared.)
Note: Permission is granted to include short extracts of this article on websites and email lists with a link to this page (the original). This article has a copyright © and should not be reprinted in its entirety without the author's permission.
More from this author: