Venting online about work might feel good the one or two times you do it, but it’s a false feeling that leaves you empty. If venting about your job didn’t have consequences, the friends on your Facebook list could use this opportunity to minister to you. As such, it does have consequences:
- Businesses are paying attention. They protect their brand online and use different social media tools to “listen” even if you do not tag their business in your status update. With reputations made or broken in seconds in this online world, branding is important. Businesses are addressing customer concerns directly through social media.
- Employers are listening. Whether gossip is at the work place or online, employers are listening. If you are venting negatively online about your job to your friends, your boss may read it, too. Even if you don’t have your boss on your Facebook list (and I would not recommend adding him or her), your friends may talk about what you post to their friends creating gossip that gets to your employers ears. Also, past articles online suggest employers often want to be your “friend” on Facebook before they determine if you are right for the job. Does your Facebook or social media reflect you in a good way?
- What should the church do when people vent about their church? Like face-to-face, not much unless they are committing slander or libel. You could take them to court, but I would propose instead of working out that relationship in a biblical way. People have always been a bit too critical of church, but each person is protected by the First Amendment.
I find with each interaction in addressing a complaint that the sense of protected anonymity goes away. Businesses are addressing any public tweets, Facebook posts, or whatnot that has to do with their brand directly with the customer. Doing this, causes the customer to realize he or she cannot just aimlessly vent and think it causes no harm or that no one hears. Businesses often address it in a nice, polite way that does not censor the customer’s right to an opinion, but attempts to resolve the issue and retain the relationship. So, how can the business owner and employee find a happy middle ground?
- For the frustrated employee, find a close friend to privately text or message, or a group in Facebook messenger so you can “gather around the water cooler” and find solutions (or find a new job).
- For the employer, do not censor your employees social media unless your business name is mentioned, but DO attempt to retain the relationship and resolve the issue at work.
The more businesses and churches respond to online negative feedback, the less likely you will probably see more of your brand sullied by frustrated employees or customers.
And one more thought…wherever you go, you represent your job if your job is in the public eye of the community. Even though your Facebook account is protected by the First Amendment, people will look at you and see your job title and where you work instead of YOU. This is especially important for missionaries, pastors, and anyone in a non-profit work place. People in these fields do not get that same sense of freedom to be honest online as they are face-to-face as the consequences are heavier for them. People who aren’t in these fields have more freedom, but no less responsibility to be decent human beings.
Share in the comments how venting about your job has had negative or positive consequences.