The Power and Pitfalls of Social Media

Social media is a powerful tool. Everything from advertising campaigns and fashion trends to social justice movements have found impetus online. Meanwhile, it seems social media should come with a user’s manual. Time and time again, leaders and influencers have posted irrational and reactionary comments to the detriment of their intended messages.

Though it seems overly simplistic, thinking before posting or sharing a comment to social media is not only a best practice, it should be the only practice. After all, social media is an opportunity to exercise personal leadership through influence.

Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter provide leaders an opportunity to voice opinions and motivate followers. Meanwhile, this opportunity does not come without a cost. To lead effectively online is to be aware of one’s mission, vision and purpose. Without forethought, leaders can cause rifts and sever ties to entire groups of people.

It can be incredibly easy to react emotionally or unprofessionally through social media, causing personal or professional embarrassment, and the best way to avoid this is to put the time and care into online communication that would go into any face-to-face communication.

Though we live in a world where many like to speak just to hear themselves, a strong leader knows that influence demands rational thought and clear goals. To exercise personal leadership online is to think posts through and have a reason to say something.

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Here at Lead Read Today, we endeavor to take an objective (rational, scientific) approach to analyzing leaders and leadership. All opinion pieces will be reviewed for appropriateness, and the opinions shared are solely of the author and not representative of The Ohio State University or any of its affiliates.