Rules of engagement when you follow your colleagues on Twitter

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So, you’ve done the deed. You went and followed aaaaall of your colleagues on Twitter. They’ve followed you back. Now there’s no going back. 

Before you carry on tweeting as you did before, there are a few HIGHLY important rules you need to be aware of. 

This isn’t a time for skimming folks. Absorb every syllable of the following commandments before you go forth into the Twittersphere. 

Do not post Slack conversations without permission 

Thought your Slack convo with your work BFF was totally LOL? Good for you. But, before you post a screenshot for all the world to see, think about whether your beloved colleague would want the world reading your innermost secrets. Your work confidante could soon view you as a confi-don’t. 

Stop with the enigmatic personal tweets 

If you feel a continuous urge to tweet soppy song lyrics, and mysterious statements about personal heartbreak, please refrain. Your colleagues are not going to favourite your 11pm “if only u knew how much u hurt me” missive. And, you certainly don’t want your emotions becoming the butt of office jokes. Maybe write them down in your journal instead. 

Don’t go off on a Twitter rant 

Twitter is, as we all know, a place for sharing your views, feelings, and hot takes on the news of the day. But, if you list your employer in your bio, and you’re followed by co-workers, going off on a massive tirade about something or someone could cross a line. 

Kalli Soteriou, head of social and content at social media agency 10 Yetis Digital, says it’s about being “savvy with what you’re posting.” “It can sometimes land you in hot water – even those users who have the cliche ‘views my own’ in their bio . Besides, most lawyers say it won’t make any difference in court.

Don’t follow a colleague who annoys you IRL

Your least favourite colleague has followed you on Twitter. So, should you feel obliged to follow them back? Not if they annoy you intensely IRL, says Soteriou. “Rule of thumb: if a colleague annoys you in a work environment, chances are they’re going to be just as annoying on social media. My advice: Don’t follow them in the first place.” If you’ve no other alternative than to follow them for work purposes, muting them can be a way around it. 

Avoid the follow/unfollow dance 

Wanna make things suuuuuper awkward with a colleague? Just unfollow them after you’ve been following them for some time. Amanda Walls, director at Cedarwood Digital, says that if you do choose to unfollow colleagues you should be mindful that “this could potentially cause upset.” The moment they discover you’ve unfollowed, they’ll likely be confused and worried what they did to offend you. Proceed with caution. 

Look at your old tweets

Tweet in haste, repent at leisure. And, you’ll be repenting for a long, long time if you’ve tweeted something that could be deemed offensive. Michael Cheary, content and social manager at recruitment agency REED, warns that “new colleagues could very easily look back over your old tweets.” “If your opinions have changed and you’d rather not talk about it, there’s no harm in cleaning up your feed from time to time,” says Cheary. 

Take a hint

Followed a colleague, but they never followed back? Avoid the passive-aggressive move of unfollowing and then re-following. It’s annoying and they’ll probs never follow back. Just move on with your life, or unfollow them forever. 

Be mindful of politics and religion 

Granted, steering clear of politics is a tough one in the Trump and Brexit era. But, some employers have strict policies about airing political views on Twitter. Walls recommends being “mindful” of posting about religion or politics as “colleagues may have very strong views which could inadvertently cause friction within the workplace.” Your call, folks. Just try not to offend. 

In short 

Views on social media use can differ from industry to industry. Some employers can be pretty relaxed when it comes to what you do on Twitter. Just think before you tweet, follow or unfollow. And, tweet others as you’d want to be tweeted. 

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