A news report I overheard but missed the source of: Employees are now wasting an average of two hours a day reading political news on Facebook and creating drama, stress, and resentment in their workplace as they argue over their respective viewpoints. “Unrest” doesn’t even begin to describe what’s going on. The news stations are, of course, having a heyday and feeding off of and FUELING conflict, as it has the EXACT effect they want: more people watching and reading news stories. Never, ever forget that media outlets are businesses that are highly motivated to make a profit.
As a marketer, I selfishly love Facebook. But make no mistake — all of the social media sites, online games, and news feeds are your mortal enemy in your battle to keep yourself and your employees focused and productive. It IS addictive, and constantly checking your Facebook feed, Twitter account, e-mail, etc., is HIGHLY unproductive behavior. Employees wasting ANY time on Facebook are not only stealing from their employers by taking paid time for non-work-related PERSONAL activities, but they are also hurting the entire company’s profitability and their own personal effective rate because the funk of resentment lingers and spills over into drama in the workplace.
Worse yet, I see many BUSINESS OWNERS and highly paid and very visible executives who OUGHT TO KNOW BETTER incessantly posting their political views in a VERY unprofessional manner, all during work hours. After accepting a friend request from a client, I was instantly presented with a picture of two men with their middle fingers extended and the caption “Mexico’s response to paying for Trump’s wall.” Stupid. Is that really the first thing you want a prospective client, investor, or employee to see? Would you walk into a business meeting with that on your T-shirt? My 6-year-old was sitting next to me when I accepted the request and was the beneficiary of this lovely image. I can assure you there are far more productive, classy, and effective ways of making an impact than that.
Bottom line: I’m all for free speech. But you’re an idiot if you think free speech is consequence–free. IF you are going to incur the backlash from political opinions, at least do it strategically. Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern are both excellent examples of how taking an extreme, controversial viewpoint can be turned into profit. But that’s the game they’re playing, and they’re playing it well. With strategy. With an intention. The news outlets are doing this with the objective to make a profit. Not carelessly spraying their opinion like graffiti on a wall to “be heard” or make themselves feel better. There IS a difference.
Keep your eye on the prize
An IT business owner who’s simply spewing their opinion about politics because they saw something that irritated them is a fool who does NOT have their eye on the prize. You have to realize this is hurting your business, if not by alienating people, then certainly by the distraction. You could say, “I don’t care. If they don’t agree with me, screw ’em.” But that’s as immature as a 2-year-old stomping her feet because she can’t get her way. Your rude posts do not change anyone’s viewpoint, do not do anything to reverse who our president is, do not change the laws, and certainly do not HELP in selling more IT services.
What EXACTLY are you hoping to accomplish with your post? Do you honestly think your bitter, angry opinions, and zero tolerance for the opinions of others is helping? Prospects WILL check you out on social media — so before you post, ask yourself if you would stand face-to-face in front of a new prospect who could give you a lot of money and make that same statement? Would you really risk the vitality and profitability of your company so you can state your opinion?
One prominent Channel Chief posted that if you don’t make your “voice heard” on Facebook you are shirking your responsibility as a citizen and you are essentially an un-American, anti-First Amendment supporter. Wow. Just when I thought we had made progress on bullying.
My advice to you: Stay classy, San Diego. If your clients hired you to provide them with political opinions, by all means post away. But if they hired you for something else, why would you waste your time and risk your connection with them posting ANYTHING other than content they will find useful, that will connect them with you more, and further your status as an expert in your field? If you’re running a business, you’d be smart to censor yourself and think carefully before you post your random thoughts and opinions online.
Photo: Jason Rosewell via Unsplash.com