Don't Be Dumb on Social Media, Please

By George Khoury, Esq. on August 16, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

On social media, for attorneys, there's a fine line between cracking a few jokes and sharing stories and info, and just being irresponsible and stupid.

Believe it or not, what you say on the internet matters for a lot of different reasons. For lawyers, one of the biggest reasons is your and your firm's potential clients. This isn't a free speech issue. It's a what-your-speech-reflects-upon-your-character (and your firm's character) issue.

Below, you can read a few tips on how not to be dumb on social media.

1. Avoid Serious Controversial Opinions

You physically can pretty much type, say or express any opinion you want on Twitter, Facebook, or one of the other soapbox platforms. But, if you do express opinions, and people read them and interact, you're opening yourself up to your reputation being tarnished, regardless of which way you have your heels dug into the digital mud.

The more controversial your opinion is, or the topic, the more likely you'll find yourself being questioned, or potentially even scolded, by a social media barrage. On a side note though, trivial controversial opinions, like expressing your love for pineapple on pizza is what social media was made for (well, that and nefarious marketing of course).

2. Proofread Your Posts Several Times

Social media lets you reach an audience directly, but if your posts have grammatical or other errors (like bad links), be prepared to lose some cache. If the post gets a lot of engagement before the mistake is discovered, you could be faced with the very real social media dilemma of whether to delete a popular post with a mistake, and whether you should repost it sans typo.

Also, while proofing, really consider whether someone would find the post offensive. If you think so, then you should probably think twice before posting, lest you end up having to wipe your entire existence off social media. Do you really want to have a reputation as someone who offends others?

3. Know Your Meme

People on social media range from way too silly to way too serious. But one thing that nearly all internet users can appreciate is a good meme. So when you get seemingly incomprehensible social media comments, you may want to run a quick Google search on whether there's a meme or some other reference you're just not getting. Thankfully, most questions about stuff that happens on the internet can be answered by asking the internet.

Protip: Sticking to "dad jokes" can seriously win you the internet.

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