Social Networking Filter on High

Earlier today I tweeted something about SUICIDE and within seconds I regretted it and deleted it.  It was fairly mundane, but I could see where somebody who had lost a loved one or struggled with suicidal thoughts, might take offense.   So, to be on the safe side I deleted it.  It got me thinking about all the filters I run my social networking posts through, and wondered if I’ve set it too high, or too low?  What factors go into a tweeter’s decision to post or not post something.

Here are a few I came up with:

  • Family filter: If I say this, and my wife or kids see it, will I be embarrassed? If one of their friends sees it, knowing that I’m their husband/father, will they be embarrassed, made fun of, or otherwise harassed. Yes? No? Maybe?
  • Work filter: I work for a Fortune 500 company that is very protective of their IP and their brand.  People have lost their jobs by posting the wrong things, so I stay completely away from anything day-job related.
  • Brand filter: We all have a brand whether we like it, know it, or not. Shy, cocky, annoying, confident, etc…   I’m trying to build a brand with my writing. Violent, American/Chinese, intriguing, surprising, Tarantinoesque…  I would like to sell a lot of my books, and I have started to develop a “tribe” using social networking tools.  More and more I find that I’m checking myself before I wreck myself.  I believe it’s a good thing from a sales and marketing perspective, but it’s also sad that we now live in a world (America?) where having a different opinion might cost you a sale, or worse ruin your career. This morning I was watching the news and there was a story about how the Barbie brand had reinvented itself after losing sales and market share for the last few years.  They came up with a product line of Barbie’s that crossed all sorts of barriers and boundaries. The reporter made some comment about something called the United Colors of Benetton Barbie.  Then the reporter asked the Barbie representative “Would Barbie ever take a position on a political and/or social issue, and she said matter of factly, ‘no, we don’t want to offend anybody.'”

Thoughts? What filters do you use, if any?  What high/low is your social networking setting?