Responsible Social Media Use: To Defame or Not Defame… What Shall It Be?

Last weekend I made the unfortunate decision to purchase a turkey sandwich from a well-known sandwich shop. Five hours later I wasn’t feeling so well. In fact, I was violently ill for the entire weekend.

I missed one of my son’s football games, a family gathering and the house went to absolute rack and ruin!

As the dust settled and I was able to leave my sick bed, I became really angry. Not only had I felt horrendously sick and thought about dying, I had wasted so much time.

So, what could I do to put it right? To make sure that no-one else would suffer my fate.

As an avid social media user, there was a very big part of me that wanted to share. I wanted to tell the world about my woes and encourage others to stay away from this particular establishment. A few sharp tweets, a witty Facebook status update and possibly even an Instagrammed pic of my electrolyte-laden rehydration drink. I had it all worked out.

I was so tempted…….

But instead I chose not to. And here is why:

  • I had eaten at this establishment before without any issue
  • I didn’t want to be responsible for damaging their business
  • I think it is courtesy to contact an establishment to address your concerns BEFORE using social media to do so

I have to be honest and say it wasn’t easy restraining myself but I did know it was the right call. So instead I contacted the relevant health authorities and made a complaint. They have assured me that they will conduct an investigation.

Now, a social media campaign about my food poisoning episode may have provided me with short term satisfaction but in reality a direct complaint to the relevant authorities will ensure a better outcome for others.

I believe social media use comes with great responsibility. Irresponsible use could potentially ruin your career, friendships and, most importantly, your digital reputation. And let me assure you – had I tweeted midst illness – I may not be telling this story today!!

So, next time you are thinking about using social media to defame or even just rant, please do the following:

  • Take a deep breath
  • Ask yourself whether social media is really the best channel to get an outcome
  • Consider whether you are going to harm anyone in the process
  • Ask yourself whether your outburst will affect your digital reputation

And then make yourself a nice snack before you do anything further. Just make sure it isn’t a turkey sandwich!

Take care,

Alex x

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