Evolution Weekly 73 // Pitfalls of Social Media for Architects

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A quick disclaimer: I don’t condone the actions or views of the examples I bring to you today. I simply want you to understand and learn from how they affected the people involved.

I know I had mentioned in the last Evolution Weekly that we’d be talking about Audio for Architects this week. But after a few recent stories in the news, I chose to put that on hold in order to talk about something else that could affect you if you’re not careful: social media.

I’m admittedly not a ‘Social Media Expert.’ There are many out there who know much more about Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and all the rest.

But there’s one thing I do know - Social Media platforms can be extremely detrimental to your career if you’re not careful.

I think of it like this...

As an Architect, my position inherently brings with it the responsibility of acting professional at all times. Architects work with the public and for the public to shelter and protect them.

In a world of news at your fingertips and everyone eager to break a story, it's important to take a moment and breathe before the next time you hit 'Send.' If you’re not careful, a simple joke or opinion could be taken out of context, misinterpreted, or misjudged.


THE BAD JOKE THAT ROCKED THE WORLD

One day, a young woman named Justine Sacco wrote a tweet. This tweet was seemed harmless enough to her. It was a joke that she had written to her couple hundred followers, boarded an overnight flight, and thought nothing of it.

In reality, it had offended many, many people. The tweet spread like wildfire.

When she turned on her phone again after her flight had landed, she realized that her joke was the #1 trending tweet in the world.

Oops.

It was too late. The damage had been done.

To make matters worse, Justine worked for a Public Relations agency. At least she did until no one wanted to touch her with a thirty-nine and a half foot pole. (Yep, that’s right. I just used a Grinch pun.)

Perception can be everything when it comes to your career.


WHEN SOCIAL MEDIA ATTACKS SOMEONE YOU FOLLOW

On a somewhat different note, I’ve been following a group called “Kinda Funny” (and their founders to be exact) for the past several years now. They’re a group of young guys who discuss video games, hang out, and entertain.

Recently, one of their co-founders, Colin Moriarty, found himself in hot water over another joke on Twitter. You could say that it was a bit more tame than Justine Sacco’s, but still ignited a very heated debate.

Within days, whether of his own accord or not, Colin resigned from Kinda Funny. He has since gone on to start a new venture, but I can’t help wondering how much of the choice to do so was because of the twitter storm that had preceded it.

Having watched Colin's content for years, I respect him as a person and know him for some very interesting and intelligent ideas. I don't always share his sentiments, but I respect them none the less.

His joke gave me pause, not so much because of the content, but because of how it affected his career and those around him. People have been hung out to dry for much more.

I don't know him directly, but I know what he's stood for. He's a good person who's been derailed by a simple miscalculation.

To see his sudden fall from grace threw me off.


BE CAREFUL

These aren’t the only people affected one way or another by social media. And not all social media is working against us. In fact, it can do a whole lot of good for people who use it wisely.

All I’ll say is this - Be careful what you write and create digitally. We live in a world now where everything is recorded and documented in a much more permanent way than previous generations.

The walls that previously protected secrets have been broken down. With limitless communication, comes limitless ways for it to work for or against us.

I don’t want you to completely limit how you use the digital tools at your disposal. I simply suggest that, as an Architect, your responsibility to the profession you’ve chosen requires you to be careful with what you put into the world. You are a sort of public figure, one who can certainly move with your opinions, but who will also be challenged by them.


THIS WEEK'S EVOLUTION

Enjoy the connectivity that social media affords you. Keep learning new ways of communicating with others in the profession and the public at large. Understand the tools in front of you. Beware the pitfalls that can cripple your career.

Opinions can help bring positive change, but they can also become twisted and leave lasting scars.

Think before you act and you should fine.


MORE FROM EVOLVING ARCHITECT


Stay Tuned... Next week we'll discuss Audio for Architects. For Real, I Promise ;)


Ok, that’s all for now. In the mean time, let's connect on Linkedin and discuss more topics like this on the Blog.

Michael LaValley

Buffalo, NY