Beware you don’t ‘post’ your way into trouble

by Paul Cowhig, Advisor, Professional Standards

Social media in any of its many forms is a dangerous place to vent your hostility.

It’s certainly no place for an off-the-cuff negative comment about another member or their business practices. It’s not the same as a private comment under your breath to a co-worker, good friend or family member. It’s as public an announcement as you can get.

None of us should be putting anything on social media that we don’t want the whole world to see. There is no such thing as private social media.  You can always be held accountable for what you say, write or show in the vast public realm of social media.

Social media can have the effect of haunting you long past the day you felt compelled to post something negative. If you’ve ever gone back to look at your high school yearbook pictures, you will know what I’m talking about. What seemed cool in the present, over time is just embarrassing.

Even more importantly, you need to understand how badly airing our laundry in public reflects on us all. That’s why our rules say;

“The REALTOR® shall never publicly discredit any other Registrant. If the REALTOR®’s opinion is sought, it should be rendered with strict professional integrity and courtesy.” *

I read that to mean, “If you don’t have something nice to say then don’t say anything at all.”

It’s not because we want to sweep things under the table. We absolutely need to deal with the legitimate practice complaints we have between us. But we should not do it in public because it’s counter-productive from a public relations standpoint.

Collectively, millions of dollars are spent every year to promote our industry and raise our public image. That behooves us not to work against ourselves. So, please, think before you post.

Let me know what you think. Write to me at

* STANDARDS OF BUSINESS PRACTICES ARTICLE 19:  Discrediting another Registrant