Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Nanny Confessions: Think Before You Post, Email or Text

Your Actions on Social Media, Texts, and Emails Do Have Consequences
By Debbie Thomas, Career Nanny

What you text, email, or Tweet can come back to bite you and I embarrassed to confess I know this first hand. I will confess my mistakes in the hopes that I can impress upon others that their actions and words do have consequences. Choosing to "flame" on social media can ruin reputations, lose friends, and even hurt chances of landing a nanny job (or any job).

Children and teens are constantly warned about the dangers of texting, posting, or uploading anything inappropriate, anywhere. But, it’s not just children making those mistakes. I see nannies aggressively “flaming” on social media and on blogs all the time. The reality is that anything emailed, texted, or posted may remain online forever and can never be re-written or taken back.

When I worked as a live-in au pair I was allowed to use my employer’s computer to email friends and family. I loved my job. Yet, a couple of times I complained to friends about the parents’ relationship by email. And as karma, the mother opened one of the disparaging emails while deleting files on her computer and that email almost cost me my job. That mother has told potential employers about the incident during reference calls.

I know I’m not the only person who has texted gossip to others. I’m also not the only person to have gossiped about a nanny in a text to a friend and accidentally sent the text to the mobile phone of the person I was gossiping about. That text ruined a friendship.

And, I am embarrassed to admit that I have posted comments on nanny blogs and nanny web sites that were too aggressive, not considering the feelings of the other commenters, owners, authors, or moderators of those blogs or web sites. I sometimes think people mistakenly assume that they are anonymous online. But, that’s a misconception.

I don’t know why I thought it was okay to express my deepest, most passionate opinions aggressively on social media on blogs. “Flaming” comments or very aggressive comments nearly lost me the friendship of the editor of this newsletter blog. I volunteer working on the publication and therefore the angry comments not only reflected poorly on me personally, but for the publication as well since I am associated with the newsletter. And, when working for a family (or at any job) our actions and words represent the family (or employer) as well.

Don’t misunderstand me -- it’s perfectly fine to be passionate. But, it is not okay to express opinions at the expense of others. Always remember that potential employers will Google your name and possibly see any comments you have made online.

I hope my embarrassing and candid confessions today encourage other nannies to consider the potential consequences of what they say online. I highly recommend no one ever post anything negative about their employers online including, but not limited to: Facebook, Twitter, emails, or texts. I encourage nannies to comment passionately but not attack other individuals, groups, or businesses publicly.

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