If You Can’t Say Something Nice…

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A pair of gossiping flamingos.“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” It’s one of those phrases that’s engraved upon my brain. I’ve probably said it a few times myself and immediately regretted it because it means I sound like my mother. That being said, the phrase is a helpful guide. It often keeps me from saying or writing things I might regret.*

For instance, I sometimes am tempted to vent on my Facebook profile about work life or whatever else is bothering me. I almost always veto the option. People would ask questions. I would have to explain the circumstances. I wouldn’t want to do that, at least not on Facebook. Very rarely does something good come of blathering all over the internet.

This world is a small one, and social media sometimes makes it smaller. My words very well could hurt me. They could affect a person’s decision to hire me. I can’t risk that. I refuse to risk that. My complaints and whining also could impact current relationships. People, including clients and friends, could sever ties or lose faith in me if I were to start blabbing my miseries all over the internet.

For good or ill, my personal life intersects with my professional one. I can’t mouth off whenever I like. I have to control my tongue. If that means I become slightly reticent on my personal profile, so be it. It’s better than posting something I’ll regret.

How do you decide what to post online? Do your considerations affect your online presence?

*Originally published October 2011.

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Erin Feldman

Erin Feldman is a marketing consultant and copywriter based in Austin, Texas. When she isn't helping clients tell their stories, she reads, writes poetry, draws, and takes kickboxing classes.

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