There’s a rule in the restaurant industry: It’s the server’s job to check the plate to ensure people get what they ordered. Any server worthy of a decent tip will always check meal orders against tickets and, if necessary, cover the cook’s behind.
The server is the last line of defense at eateries. Unfortunately, either many managers aren’t enforcing the rule, or the staff just doesn’t care, because I’ve lost count how many times I’ve asked for something to be left off my plate–only for it to be served anyway. (It’s common for them to roll their eyes and lay all the blame on the cook. That’s a shame, and they only get away with it because they aren’t punished for their own mistakes via poorer tips. But I digress…)
Savvy social media users (especially on Twitter and LinkedIn) are less forgiving when it comes to being fed bad information. Useless and inappropriate content isn’t what they ordered when they clicked the follow button, so it’s up to you to ensure they’re receiving the star treatment.
If you want to build and maintain a good reputation, you have to share with care. That is, know what you’re posting and tell others why they need to give it a read. This can be time consuming, because no matter how much you trust anyone, you should be reading articles and blog posts before retweeting links.
Responses like, “OMG, that’s not what I thought it was…” and “I can’t believe he tweeted that…” are excuses only for laziness and disrespect. It tells us that you’re passing information in a sealed envelope, yet you still stamped URGENT on the front.
Expecting (or hoping) others read what you haven’t taken time to read yourself makes you look like a fool. It makes people wonder if you’re actually a bot, or worse, if your account has been compromised (which, by the way, could happen to any accounts you follow).
If you want to be a key tweeter/poster in your field, follow the rules of service:
- Always retweet for a reason.
- Read references (click the link) to make sure the content you’re sharing is appropriate for your followers.
- Tell your followers why you’re retweeting content, even if only to say you love someone’s idea.
- If you don’t agree with the original article but still want to retweet the link, tell your followers why. (You could include a brief rebuttal).
In short, you need to be the ideal server – the last line of defense. Cooks, along with those you follow, make mistakes. It’s your job to cover their behinds. All that matters, really, is that folks are happy with their experience. Ignore the rules and people will react accordingly – most likely by clicking the unfollow button.