5 Steps to Overcome a Social Media Mistake

We’ve all said something on the internet we wish we would could take back.  It could be a a rush to judgement, or even pure stupidity like this classic exchange between a Cisco Applicant and a Cisco Employee.

A prospective Cisco hire (@theconnor) tweeted:

Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work.

A Cisco channel partner advocate responded with a tweet of their own

Who is the hiring manager. I’m sure they would love to know that you will hate the work. We here at Cisco are versed in the web.

By Kevin Marks

By Kevin Marks


The web does many wonderful things, but it also brings out the worst in insecure people who use criticism to make themselves feel better.  But, since the only way to get better at Social Media is to “learn by doing”, we’re all going to face this situation some day.  Here are 5 steps to get you through this and move forward

Step 1 – Hit “Eject”, Disconnect!

Leave behind any internet capable device and physically Eject yourself to another location.  Take a walk, get a coffee, or go to your favorite store.  It doesn’t matter.  Right now you need your thoughts to be Disconnected from your emotions.  Preventing yourself from over-reacting to the situation can make what seems to be severe much more calm.

Step 2 – Redirect your Intellect

Now that your emotions have settled, you’re going to need to start thinking again.  But don’t rush back into email, Redirect your focus to sites that make you think.  Your mind should be nice and clear from Step 1, so here’s a to chance to get your Intellect working for you again.

Step 3 – Collect, before you Reflect

Listen or read as many points of view as possible before trying to make sense of them.  Collecting a variety of feedback helps you see all sides of the issue.  Don’t try to make sense of any one person’s words until you have a complete set of information.  No scientist would make a conclusion off of one data point, so just observe all the feedback then Reflect on what it all means.

Step 4 – Reconnect, but not Perfect

You have relaxed, prepared your mind, and thought about the issue.  It’s time to now Reconnect with your community.  However, fully understand that it is impossible to make everyone happy.  Don’t worry about Perfecting your response, once it feels 80% good, get it out there.

Step 5 – Correct and Neglect

You’ve put a lot of effort into understanding the situation and probably learned how your personality may have caused the problem.  Correct that flaw and you won’t have to go through this stress again.  Whether its ego, laziness to proofread, or bad taste in humor, you probably have received this type of negative feedback sometime before.

Here’s the key, you need to Neglect that this ever happened.  Put it behind you and move on.  If it’s on your mind, it will continue to impact your life.

In summary, a bad situation on the internet will happen to all of us.  What determines success is the ability to understand and address the situation so that you can prevent it from ever happening again.

Posted on March 19, 2009 at 8:35 am by Ben Foster · Permalink
In: Career · Tagged with: ,

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