In a world where we refer to our social channels before our friends, it is easy to believe we live within four walls of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and to post messages without thinking.

Jack Maynard (axed from I’m a Celebrity), Stormzy and Zoella have been in the firing line in recent weeks, facing repercussions from tweets posted by their younger selves, some from up to eight years ago. More recently, the editor of the Gay Times has been sacked for tweeting anti-Semitic, misogynistic and homophobic comments between 2010 and 2015.

Whilst we should be careful not to condemn people for their inappropriate behavior, it is possible for the term ‘think before you speak’ to slip our memory from time to time. If you are a celebrity, magazine editor or even just you or me, social media accounts have the potential to reach millions, so we should always try and share positive messages.

We post on social media to showcase our lives. We want everyone to see that fancy dinner in The Shard, or how great our poached eggs on avocado toast looked. You may have even deleted it if it received less than 10 likes (guilty).

Our jobs as PR professionals is to make sure that these judgements are interpreted in a positive manner and shared with good intentions. And PR professionals or celebrities are not the only ones who should keep on top of this. We can all be a role model to somebody.

Here’s my three suggestions to avoid personal or professional embarrassment on social media:

  1. Give your social media accounts an audit

–          Auditing isn’t just for companies. Go through your accounts and make sure you haven’t said something which you may not currently believe in or that’s too contentious.

  1. Think of yourself as a brand

–          If you want to be considered influential in a certain industry or just want to be well respected by your followers, present yourself as a brand. Brands have the potential achieve good PR by making a positive impact.

  1. Think before you speak!

–          This one speaks for itself.

Perhaps if Jack Maynard followed these steps, he would be eating jungle ‘delicacies’ rather than his words. So, don’t let yourself get bitten by the social critter!

By Rosie Smith, MWWPR