Why you must think before you post online

Do you think before you post online?

I was oblivious to the stemmed by Applebee’s firing of a waitress for posting a photo of a receipt online until fellow career professional, Dawn Bugni, shared this story on Facebook.

Applebee’s management of social media zoomed out of control. This left me wondering if they had a public relations company at all or if they were managing this on their own.

The waitress’ story

That story led me to the fired waitress’ telling here story. It is posted here and describes how careful she had been to not show the identity of the customer in question. This explained her side of the story as well as made an appeal for everyone to understand how tips are vital to the restaurant employees income. Restaurants routinely pay their waiters and waitresses much less and tips make up the rest of their pay.

I worked with numerous restaurant employees from waitresses to chefs to general managers. I have a pretty good understanding of how and why that pay system exists.

The impact of social media and what you post online

Was the waitress wrong to post the receipt? Probably. Reddit is not Twitter or Facebook but Google search and Yahoo search both grab images and that’s what made the receipt become national news.

  • Was the pastor wrong in her demand to have everyone in the restaurant fired? Probably.
  • Was Applebee’s wrong to fire the photo-posting waitress? Maybe. It was company policy to not post online and she broke that rule but there have already been documented reports of Applebee’s breaking their own policy to post a complimentary note from a different customer.

What struck me is why a major restaurant corporation would not understand the impact of social media. People aligned with the waitress causing a viral storm and people committed to stop eating at Applebee’s. Applebee’s own responses made it worse. No spin management in place.

No social media policy.

When I work with job seekers or teach classes at local colleges, I am always emphasizing the impact of social media and why you must be careful with what you say online.

Someone in every class I teach says, “But if I have my Facebook privacy settings set high, no one can see my posts, right?”

Wrong! I have spoken to enough lawyers and insurance company investigators to know that if someone whats to know something about you, they can find it.

My advice if you don’t want it read online, don’t post it!

Obviously, no one at Applebee’s realized the impact of their online responses or developed a plan to respond.

Viral is easy today. The strangest things go viral. If you want to vent about your employer, don’t do it on social media unless you want everyone to hear you.

As a career professional, I see job seekers and careerists making those mistakes daily and I cringe. I have seen people who spent months looking for a job, land one and initially be totally excited by the position.

As the challenges of the job start to accumulate, I see rants and complaints about their “new” job or company.

Bad move. Learn from the Applebee’s mistake.

Watch what you post when you are in job search mode and watch what you post about work, customers, or employers once you land that new position.

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Julie Walraven, Design Resumes

Julie Walraven

Professional Resume Writer

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