"Think before you click": having social media grace in a contentious climate

Posted at 9:16 PM, Jan 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-19 21:16:18-05

We already know a lot of things have changed and will continue to change when President-elect Donald Trump takes office.

And while a lot of questions remain about what his presidency means for our country, we do know his use of social media is prompting people here in Northeast Ohio do their jobs a little differently.

It’s no secret Donald Trump's go-to platform to reach the masses is Twitter. He now has more than 20 million followers. It's what he sends out from his account that's creating concern for those working to protect companies and their employees.

"What you say off-duty isn't really off-duty anymore," said Jon Hyman, employment attorney.

Now more than ever, our personal and professional lives are intertwined on the Internet.

“You don't have the same free speech rights you think you do on social media," said Hyman.

Hyman trains employees on how to appropriately use social media to help protect their company's brand.

"People are typing before they really put any thought into what they are saying," said Hyman.

His message: think before you click.

"Run it through your mental filter," added Hyman.

With Donald Trump now taking office, Hyman says that training will have an even stronger tone in light of how the president-elect has used his personal social media platforms.

"I think he has shown he's incapable of kind of filtering his message,” said Hyman. "The leader of the free world, the nation's role model for better or for worse, is doing exactly what we counsel employees not to do."

And Donald Trump's behavior online, some experts believe, could now make people more vulnerable to getting fired as they feel a stronger sense to respond to his politically charged or controversial tweets with comments or posts of their own.

"You get caught up in the excitement of I want to get this out there without taking the time to think," said Hyman.

"I think the rules are going to change, they have changed. They keep evolving as you go," said Madison Letizia.

At companies like ThunderTech, the advice to employees on how to navigate social media is to remove themselves and become their company's brand.

“It kind of gets you down the line of questioning well, would the brand have this opinion or would the brand say this way?" added Letizia.

Moving forward, Jon Hyman says he expects employers will get pushback if they call out a worker for posting questionable content online.

"If it's good enough for the president, why isn't it good enough for us? And the answer is, well, you work for us and you're not in charge,” added Hyman.

Of course, all eyes will be on Donald Trump's Twitter account as he takes office.

Hyman said if you expect to all of a sudden see a change in how he uses the platform once he becomes President - think again.

That's why the employment attorney is digging in and ready to drive home his message the next four years.