What Not to Tweet

Social media has afforded us a great many benefits in the world of communications. Now you know news the second it hits. You can see what’s on the minds of celebrities and experts you’ve long admired, and even communicate with them. And you can take part in making viral a video of a man knocking himself unconscious with a pool cue. God bless these United States.

But there is a downside, and that’s the chronic, sometimes alcohol-induced problem of oversharing. If you’re on Twitter, here are some Twitter lessons from Ragan.com that may help keep you from getting fired — and keep your business’ name out of the muck:

1. Tweet confidential. Don’t tweet confidential information about your company, co-workers or clients. Leaking confidential information could lead to more than job loss, it could lead to law suits and SEC violations, depending upon the severity of the leak.

2. Twitter bashing. Whether you choose to sound off about a brand or a person, defamation suits are still applicable. If you think you’ll get free products or concessions from a company that’s wronged you, you might just get slapped with a hefty fine and damages.

3. Over-sharing. Don’t forget that tweets are public domain. Many employers can, and will, take action if you do something on your free time that could potentially damage their image or compromise their reputation. Even though it may be your own personal opinion or action, if you tweet about it, it’s hard for an organization to ignore.

4. Jumping the gun. Is your PR firm pitching a new client? Is your company working on a new product? Are you planning to leave your job? If you leak information too soon, there may be repercussions. Sometimes in our exuberance, we blurt out the good news to a confidant in passing—but doing so on Twitter could let the news travel at digital speeds to your competitors or your company.

5. Whining about work. Although there may not be a law restricting you from complaining about your 9–5, if you don’t want your employers to know what you are saying about them, think before you tweet. There are plenty of sites that allow you to vent anonymously, and of course, you can always call a trusted friend or your mom. But if you choose to document your frustration digitally, remember that Google never forgets, and neither does your boss.