Will Social Media Cost Me My Job? with Rachel Karten | Crooked Media
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September 20, 2023
Work Appropriate
Will Social Media Cost Me My Job? with Rachel Karten

In This Episode

Are hiring managers checking out your Instagram stories? Is it okay to tweet about the NSFW writing you do on the side? Should you expose the idiots who send vitriol to your company’s inboxes? The intersection of work and social media can be a messy place. Rachel Karten, social media strategist and writer of the Link in Bio newsletter, joins host Anne Helen Petersen to answer listeners’ questions about when online problems become IRL.

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Anne Helen Petersen: Hi, everyone. I’m Anne Helen Petersen, and this is Work Appropriate. [music plays] Social media is weird. If you’re like me, you started your social media accounts before you were like a professional professional. My early Facebook, like most early Facebooks, is vaguely mortifying. But then as an academic, Twitter was also how I built connections with other academics. And then when I became a journalist, Twitter became indispensable. And now my Instagram is also part of my professional life. So now it’s like a mix of dogs and my flowers, but also like screenshots of whatever I’m writing and links to this podcast. It’s complicated. All of it. And even though I quote unquote “run social” for my own little mini company, that is me. It’d be even more complicated if I was also running social for a larger brand, or if what I did for work was somehow very incongruous with what I did in my non-work life. So today we have questions about these messy intersections of social media and work. And when I asked for suggestions on who should be my co-host, as we work through these quandaries, the response was overwhelming and all pointed to one very smart and very experienced person who we were very lucky to get to come on to the show. 


Rachel Karten: My name is Rachel Karten. I am a social media consultant and I write a Substack newsletter called Link in Bio, all about working in social media. 


Anne Helen Petersen: It’s a fantastic Substack. I so many people recommended it to me and I love it. And you’ve been in social media strategy for a decade. 


Rachel Karten: Yeah. 


Anne Helen Petersen: What have you seen change over the course of that time, both in the role that like I mean, I’ve seen this from watching my coworkers at BuzzFeed, both in the role that social plays within organizations, but then also the role that social plays in our lives. 


Rachel Karten: Yeah, I mean, I have seen so many changes. The only thing that I think hasn’t changed is that social media is not constant. You’re constantly needing to understand the landscape and every day is something new. So on the one hand, it’s changed a lot in the ten years and on the other hand it hasn’t because it’s always been this shifting landscape that, you know, you have to keep up with regardless of it was like ten years ago with like flat lays and, you know, the Nashville filter or today with Reels and TikTok. So that’s the one constant I would say, is that it is always changing. 


Anne Helen Petersen: There is no resting on your laurels. When you work in social media. [laughter] Like you have to just constantly be like, okay, so how are people doing this now? And I find that so much of it is just observational too, like just consuming a lot of social media so as to understand how to do social media yourself. 


Rachel Karten: Exactly. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Just for my own entertainment and maybe for listeners entertainment. What do you see as the generational differences in how people engage in social media? 


Rachel Karten: Oof. That feels spicy. [laughter]


Anne Helen Petersen: We can be nice about it too, though. 


Rachel Karten: Sure. I mean, I think that I think about, you know, my parents generation and how my mom uses social media a lot of Facebook. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Mm hmm mm hmm. 


Rachel Karten: A lot of engaging with political content, using social media to express her views on things. Whereas then I think like my millennial demographic, we grew up on social media, but I think we also, at least I feel this way, are feeling exhausted by social media, we’re not maybe willing to record TikTok’s a day and, you know, surveil our entire lives. And then Gen Z really has had social media their whole life and are feeling, very bright eyed, bushy tailed about having their social lives and, you know, their entire lives basically broadcast on on social media. So I think there’s a lot of generational sort of nuances in how we’re engaging with social media. But I say like at this point, everyone, every generation is on social media, which is sort of an interesting you know, I don’t know what the right word to use, but I’m motioning my hands, you know, all coming together. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Right, right. And I think one thing that I’ve seen that’s so interesting, first of all, what type of millennial are you? Are you elder, middle or young? 


Rachel Karten: I’m 32, so whatever that is. 


Anne Helen Petersen: You’re young. 


Rachel Karten: Middle? Oh young.


Anne Helen Petersen: That’s that’s like, no, that’s young millennial. So I’m elder millennial and I have found my peers are so reticent to pick up another form of social media completely ignored Snap. 


Rachel Karten: Oh yeah. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Maybe I had one friend who used Snap. 


Rachel Karten: Yeah. 


Anne Helen Petersen: And then many of them were not on Twitter. And then TikTok feels otherworldly to them and the way that they access TikTok culture. And I think I am particularly attuned to this right now because I just did so much work with Bama RushTok is they access it vis a vis Reels or like TikTok’s that have been uploaded to Instagram? 


Rachel Karten: Mm hmm. 


Anne Helen Petersen: So it’s like a different way of finding a different way of discovery and still very much feeling like I am not downloading TikTok. 


Rachel Karten: Yeah. 


Anne Helen Petersen: But their reticence has been so linked to. I don’t think it’s necessarily technological fear as much as it’s I know it will become a time suck and I don’t want that in my life. 


Rachel Karten: Totally. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Which is different. That’s like a reaction to the way that social media has functioned historically in their lives. 


Rachel Karten: Yeah, and I think that there’s another like aspect of it, of like, I think my mom, you know, I keep thinking of her, but like, likes to go on one app and she gets all of her information on that one app. 


Rachel Karten: Right. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Whereas I’m like in a constant state of like five or six apps that I’m checking in on and like, refreshing. And so if they can get their TikTok’s two weeks late on Reels, like that’s not so bad to them, you know? [laughter]


Anne Helen Petersen: Yeah, yeah. There’s no like, oh, this meme is old. 


Rachel Karten: Yeah. 


Anne Helen Petersen: This dance has been around. [laughter] And I do think like right now we’re in such a weird moment with X, Twitter, like these new Twitter type things that have popped up that are not doing the same thing in the same capacity. And I actually think that I’ve added an hour back to every single one of my days because I no longer use Twitter. But because of that and because I have a while ago, I consciously gave up on Facebook as like a way both for me personally, but also like for my work. Everything is consolidated onto Instagram, and Instagram was originally like a way to document my dogs and my friends. And so you have that, that real connection. And this is why I’m talking about this, because I think it’ll help with our conversation of the professional and the personal and trying to figure out where that line is and like, how do you respond to people who talk to you on there and comment and all that sort of thing? Like it is a weird stew and it takes up more space in my brain than I would like it to. 


Rachel Karten: Oh, same. I mean, when I worked at Bon Appetit before and I was there for four years and I definitely like got the majority of my following from working there, from posting food. People were looking to me for restaurant recommendations. And so when I left, I was like, who am I on Instagram? 


Anne Helen Petersen: Right. 


Rachel Karten: Do I still post food all the time or am I talking about social media on here? Do people who want to, you know, the restaurant recommendations care about my social—


Anne Helen Petersen: Right. 


Rachel Karten: —media advice and it’s like a total mind fuck of like wait, who am I on here? [laughter]


Anne Helen Petersen: Right? Well and it’s thinking of yourself as a brand. Like, of course you’re a person who is interested in other things. But when a social media profile for a human becomes branded in some way, you have to integrate other things into the brand. It has to be a brand transition. 


Rachel Karten: Yeah. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Like how did I integrate gardening into my brand that used to just be dogs [laughter] like that sort of thing. And it sounds ridiculous when you say it out loud, but it’s what’s happening. 


Rachel Karten: Yeah, yeah. 


Anne Helen Petersen: All right. So we’re going to transition into our first question, which is about online personas. This is from Jenna. 


Jenna: My question is, how do you balance a serious day job persona and your passion persona online? Now, I do content marketing to pay the bills. I’m also a humor writer and I include both types of my clips on my website. I list my humor contributor roles on LinkedIn, and sometimes I share links to my new pieces on social media. My satire career has actually been growing a lot and I’m very proud of it. But several pieces that I write are political or they’re slightly NSFW. I’m fully in compliance with my current company’s official social media policy, and I also hate to have to hide this writing that I really love doing, but realistically I always wonder am I sabotaging my marketing career just to put my silly little jokes online? Sometimes I feel like I should be fully splitting myself into two separate social media personas. 


Anne Helen Petersen: So first of all, I think Jenna sounds awesome. I would love to read some of her satire. 


Rachel Karten: Same. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Send that my way. What do you think Jenna thinks of the risks here? Like, do you think that a client would get upset or that her boss would get upset? What do you what are you hearing? 


Rachel Karten: I’m hearing that a fear of like and it’s a real concern that, you know, when you apply to a job these days, I think that hiring managers look at your social media for better or worse. And so I think it sounds like she’s concerned that there’s maybe not a consistent storyline, A, with her career on her social media pages and, B, that like if it’s a very sensitive hiring manager they might not like maybe that she’s written about certain things or. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Yeah. 


Rachel Karten: Talks about certain topics. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Yeah it’s less probably about any work that she’s currently doing because if she’s currently doing then, like they already know that her work is good, right? Or her boss already knows that the work is good and more like what if there’s a new client that Googles her? What if there is a new boss? What if she was looking for a new job? Like it’s more of that that future look in. 


Rachel Karten: I get this type of concern 100%. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Yeah. 


Rachel Karten: And as a marketer myself, I think it’s really interesting when people have work that’s outside of the normal job maybe. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Right. 


Rachel Karten: And so I actually think this type of writing like, oh, this person sounds funny and dynamic and that is an attractive quality to me as a hiring manager within a marketing role. I’m like, that’s so fun that she can write this way. Maybe she can bring some like spice to our brand, you know what I mean? 


Anne Helen Petersen: Right? Right. Like maybe she won’t be doing marketing for, I don’t know, like nap dresses. Like, maybe that’s not the spice they’re looking for. But there are so many companies that are looking for some sort of, like, differentiation. Who would find that really cool. 


Rachel Karten: Right. 


Anne Helen Petersen: So I think that that’s a really good point. Thinking bigger picture, what are the pros and cons of dividing your social media presence in two? Because I have friends, especially friends who have kids who have that very delineated. 


Rachel Karten: Yes. Let’s say you’re a dermatologist and you want to be a thought leader on social media and post about awareness. And what to look for and skin tips. And so you really want to build your personal brand, then I would say you are looking for growth within a very specific topic and you should create your, you know, doctor, dermatologist, TikTok account and Instagram account. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Yeah. 


Rachel Karten: And you might find once you create that account where you have 100,000 followers, let’s say, and you don’t want to post your kids on there, you don’t want to post, you know, what you ate for breakfast that morning. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Yeah. 


Rachel Karten: You could, but it’s like might not feel on brand to what you’ve been growing. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Yeah. 


Rachel Karten: So then in that case I’d say you start, you know, a small private account that is for just friends and family and it’s where you can sort of do those posts that maybe feel less sort of aligned with the the more professional or public brand that you’re building. But I do find that there’s people that I follow, influencers who I like, that they show their full selves on social media. They haven’t just like niched themselves into this one topic. They talk about cooking and fashion and makeup, and I just love following because they are a full breadth of a human, which is what we are as people. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Right. 


Rachel Karten: And so if you’re willing to share your full life, then I think that that’s also a great thing. And it’s sort of a personal preference of how much of your personal life you want to bring into your your work life and how much of your work life you want to really grow on social media, if that makes sense. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Yeah. Yeah, for sure. Since both of these things are professional avenues for her, it’s not as simple as I have a public life and a private life. She is losing potential exposure for each if she cuts herself in half. 


Rachel Karten: Exactly. Exactly. It sounds like she really likes doing the satire and the comedic writing. And if you know, you want to kind of get discovered or become known for that, then you should be posting about that and you shouldn’t be afraid to post that. I think that there’s room for both of those types of content on one account, and it shows that you are a dynamic, cool human that I personally would want to hire. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Yeah. So I think our advice because of her field, she should keep them together because it’s cool and she’s cool and she should send us her writing. 


Rachel Karten: Yeah, exactly. Please, DM us. Immediately. [laughter] 




Anne Helen Petersen: All right. So we’re talking about the conundrums that come up at the intersection of work and social media. Our next question is about what to do when your company is trying to dictate what you post. This is from Courtney. 


Courtney: How do you deal with your employer wanting you to post information about the company on LinkedIn. But you want to use LinkedIn more as a personal brand situation? You’re looking for other jobs. Just what kind of expectations can employers have about what you post on social media? 


Anne Helen Petersen: Wow. I’m actually I’m slightly surprised I shouldn’t be, but I am slightly surprised that the company is trying to, like, make her post things about the company that are positive or, you know, benign or I don’t know, whatever. On her personal LinkedIn. 


Rachel Karten: Yeah, that’s not cool. 


Anne Helen Petersen: [laughs] Not cool at all. Have you heard this happening and other experiences and how people have pushed back on it? 


Rachel Karten: I I’ve heard of this before more as like, you know, not the company maybe forcing but it more of a light suggestion. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Yeah. 


Rachel Karten: And yeah I think that it’s totally inappropriate. A company would never ask you to post on your TikTok about them. They would never ask you to post on Instagram about them. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Yep. 


Rachel Karten: Why would LinkedIn be any different? Just because it’s a professional, you know, social media network. So you’re totally fine to push back on something like this and saying that something along the lines of that, you know, this falls outside of their responsibilities in this role. But, you know, there’s also I’ve heard of, you know, ambassadorships for employees. And, you know, it’s like, if you want to work with me, it’s possible, you know, if you want to work with me in a more ambassador or influencer capacity, we can talk about rates, you know, like you should be compensated if you’re doing promotion for your company on social media. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Right. Yeah. Like, this is labor. 


Rachel Karten: Yeah. 


Anne Helen Petersen: And this is also part like it is influencing how people perceive your brand and how they perceive you as a person. And if I happened on someone’s LinkedIn profile and it was all like bullshitty business, speak stuff about the company that they work for, I wouldn’t want to hire that person. [laughter]


Rachel Karten: No, that’s very, very, very odd. 


Anne Helen Petersen: She could just like not do it, especially if it was just like a general advisement, and then that she could just not do it. And no one’s going to follow up and be like, I checked your LinkedIn and you didn’t post this thing. But yeah, what do you think? Do you think maybe this is just low stakes enough that she can ignore it? 


Rachel Karten: I’d say if it’s like, you know, a mass email to the team saying, We’d love for you to promote this blank thing on your LinkedIn’s ignore it 100%. No need to respond. Or, you know. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Yep. 


Rachel Karten: Say anything sassy back. Just keep that in the group chats. But if it is a direct ask and is really sort of forward in like, can you please post this and it’s coming from a manager or somebody higher up, I think a very nice push back is called for. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Yeah, and talking about the ambassadorship, that’s a really, really smart idea. 


Rachel Karten: Yeah. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Our next question is also about the overlap between real life and online life and how it might affect future higher ability. This is from Katie. 


Katie: How do you navigate social media in an industry which for me is academia, where work and personal life are so blended it can feel really anxiety inducing as an early career academic to feel like your presence is being surveilled by more established or powerful academics who I also respect enormously. But I feel like they have the potential to hire me while also seeing my ridiculous Instagram stories about hating my job and being tired of being precarious. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Okay, so as someone who used to be an academic, you know the people in your field so well because you start out in grad school and you meet people and you meet people who are senior scholars and then like you move around and like suddenly you’re in a larger position of power. But like, maybe they still think of you as a grad student. Like, there are just complicated, complicated relationships. And the other thing is that academics spend a lot of time on social media, in part because I think it is a great way to talk about the work that they’re doing, but also because it is a great distraction from grading more or less and prepping or, you know, the same reasons why a lot of people spend time on social media. I can see, though, how there is also this compunction for academics to always be working. And then if you’re posting stories about your life, like actually having a life outside of academia, then maybe it’s subconsciously or consciously communicates to your seniors whom you know would be writing your tenure letters, all this sort of thing that like you don’t work as hard. So I can see that anxiety. Does that make sense? 


Rachel Karten: That makes sense. This is not my world academia. So that was a very helpful lesson for me. [laughter]


Anne Helen Petersen: How much do you think, though, that people, in your experience in the not even just academia, but just generally, how much do people actually care about social media presence? When they are making hiring decisions. 


Rachel Karten: I think that people would downplay how important it is, but I think that there are definitely sort of these gut reactions that can happen when you view someone’s social presence. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Yeah. 


Rachel Karten: Anyone who’s posting on a public social media profile should in some ways post knowing that there’s going to be people like who are interested in hiring you or working with you, viewing your content. If it’s public, like you should just understand that and be comfortable with what you’re posting if it’s public. And I think that back to our recommendations earlier, like if you want to be posting stupid IG stories or whatever it might be, then have a private account that you do that for So you don’t have this anxiety of feeling like somebody who you don’t want to be viewing is viewing it. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Yeah. The other thing that I would tell this person to do, if they don’t want to go and create a new account is to use the close friends function on Instagram. Right. 


Rachel Karten: Yes. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Like that is a way for you to only post your stupid little stories to the people who you don’t feel like they will be judging you in any capacity. 


Rachel Karten: That’s a great point. 


Anne Helen Petersen: At least not in a work capacity where you post them. 


Rachel Karten: Yes. [laughs]


Anne Helen Petersen: And it’s very if you haven’t done it, people who are listening, if you haven’t done it, it’s very easy to set up. You just go in. You can Google. How do I set up close friends on Instagram? And that will give you a step by step. But you select from your friends and even, you know, the Instagram even shows you essentially who they think you’re close and real friends are, which is kind of uncanny.


Rachel Karten: And it knows. 


Anne Helen Petersen: It knows. [laughs] But then it allows you to select those people so that your stories will only go to them. And I will also say as an added benefit, when I see someone with the green around their story, which is what means that it’s a private story, it hails me, it’s like a beacon. I’m like, I have to see their private story. They only want me to see it or, you know, I’m selected to see it. So it actually—


Rachel Karten: I know. It makes you feel special. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Yes. [laughs] Freaking Instagram man. Well, and then the part that she doesn’t say and I think this is a larger question, how do you deal with people like friending you? Let’s say you have a private profile, but you like meet and have drinks with this person at a conference or they’re your manager, but you hang out a lot and they friend request you. And I think in academia, especially because there isn’t that same sort of delineation between manager and managee there aren’t those firm rules about like, this isn’t something that we do. So how do you how do you deal with that? Ignoring it is just rude. 


Rachel Karten: Yeah, I mean, I think it depends. I think if you have, let’s say, like a more public profile and then your private one is like, you know, a really small group, it makes it easier to say, Oh, this is really just for family. You know, I’m only posting like, I don’t know, I would make it up my baby there or whatever it might be. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Right. Right.


Rachel Karten: For close friends. But if that’s your only presence and it is private, then I do think that it’s a little bit harder. And I think that. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Yeah. 


Rachel Karten: I like I’m an avoidant person, so I’d probably just let them in and then use close friends. Honestly, that’s like too scary to have that conversation. 


Anne Helen Petersen: It is a much more tenuous conversation to be like. Actually, there’s a perceived sense of seniority, and I know that the chances are low that you would ever be on a hiring committee. But what if you were like that? That’s a weird conversation to have. 


Rachel Karten: Yeah. 


Anne Helen Petersen: So one last small part of this question. What is your advice on whether people should lock down their social media accounts when they’re on the job hunt? 


Rachel Karten: I think it depends on how comfortable you are with the idea of a hiring manager, seeing your social presence. I don’t think that there is any sort of knock against you if you have a private profile. So take that. For what it’s worth, it might be just sort of like, I don’t want you to judge me regardless of my social presence, I’m going to make my Instagram private. Not a bad idea. If you know you are proud of your social presence and it’s something you, you know, don’t mind having public, then keep it open and just know that, like people do go through and are probably going to look at it when hiring you. I also think it’s different because I’m coming at it from like a social managers perspective where like sometimes a social hiring manager is going to look at the person’s social media to think if it’s a reflection of how well they can manage a social page, which I don’t think is very fair, but it’s still like a little bit more of a 1 to 1 connection, Whereas like in any other sort of industry, I don’t see why someone’s social presence should really, you know, play a role. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Yeah, I think you and I have weird perception here because like I remember sorting through applications at BuzzFeed and you’d be like, okay, what’s this person’s social presence, right? Like, and you want to. You want it. That’s how you get part of their vibe is part of its their writing and part of it is the way that they present that writing online and that includes in their social presence. But from most jobs, they don’t care about your sports tweets. 


Rachel Karten: Yeah. [laughter]


Anne Helen Petersen: I will also say that there’s nothing wrong with having your tweets on auto delete. 


Rachel Karten: Yeah. Yeah. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Who cares? 




Anne Helen Petersen: So our next question is totally up your alley. It’s about the downside of managing social media as part of your job. This is from Ellie, and our producer. Melody is going to read it. 


Ellie: What should you do if you manage social media accounts for work or customer service inboxes and receive insensitive, racist, sexist, inappropriate messages about your organization? And the message leads you to an actual business or person’s real social media profile. Should you inform their boss of how they’re using the work email? Can you make their sentiments public? This used to happen to me a lot in a previous job and I never did anything about it. I was too nervous to get into trouble. Should I have? 


Anne Helen Petersen: Huh? All right, this one. First of all, I will say, as someone who has received a lot of, these sorts of messages as well, people email inappropriate shit from their work email and their work Facebook accounts, they do this all the time. It is unbelievable. But what do you think the move is here? [laughs]


Rachel Karten: I mean, these are very serious topics and if they are going to the brand’s social media pages, which is how I’m understanding it, I think that they should be leveled up to your manager and to H.R.. I think that these are it’s not your job as a social manager to even respond to things like this. If you have, you know, management, I think H.R. should be the one to deal with this. In terms of like the second part of the question, in terms of like going public or reaching out again as the social manager. I would not necessarily recommend that unless there is some sort of point that the brand wants to make about these sorts of messages. And it’s something that you’ve aligned on with like legal marketing. H.R. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Right. 


Rachel Karten: These like very serious topics that I think that you should not be, and I feel for you that like you saw these and didn’t know what to do about it or didn’t know who to go to because it’s heavy to respond to these types of things and receive these in your inbox. And I always say like social managers should get therapy as part of their jobs because the type of stuff that comes in and that we have to see and the trolls that we have to deal with. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Yep. 


Rachel Karten: Are serious. So I think that this is a issue that should be brought to H.R. and probably a legal team if it’s really sort of a recurring theme or even if it just happens once. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Yeah, I think that there are some brands, smaller brands that do make points of this, right, that they like screenshot it and post it or whatever. But I think that that’s absolutely not something that you as a lower level employee, to take that into your own hands is just going to backfire on you. And I’m really glad that you made the point that like this is a what this person is fielding is abuse. It might be directed at the brand, but they have to read it, they have to delete it, they have to censor it. And I do know that a lot of places have gotten a lot better at coming up with mechanisms that make it so that you don’t have to look at that stuff in the first place that automatically mute it so that the person thinks that they’ve posted it, but no one can see it. 


Rachel Karten: Yep. 


Anne Helen Petersen: So you don’t get those recurrent comments and that sort of thing. And then also I think like more companies also are being more mindful about having mental health leave available for people who are working in those jobs, particularly if they’re working for companies or brands that do get a lot of that vitriol sent their way. 


Rachel Karten: Yeah. 


Anne Helen Petersen: So yeah, so is our advice like level this up, like what would the I wonder what a manager would say in this sort of position? 


Rachel Karten: I mean, I think that there’s a few different sort of use cases as well. You know, if it’s something that is coming into the DM’s and it is a constant sort of rolling, you know, lots of people, you know, maybe your brand is in the news for something and it’s causing sort of a group of people to really slide into your DM’s with abusive comments, then I think that’s a H.R. Legal like how do we handle this? I also think that brands like what comes to mind is like King Arthur Baking posted for Pride and they got a lot of really hateful horrible comments on a post. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Yeah. 


Rachel Karten: And the social team had these really thoughtful, amazing responses that clearly they had you know planned like we’re going to post this and like, what’s our plan going to be when these, you know, ignorant people comment horrible things. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Yeah. 


Rachel Karten: And they had these responses that were so thoughtful and like they stood behind the message that they sent out. And I think a lot of brands maybe want to participate in something like Pride, but then don’t have the responses to back it up or you don’t feel like they just let the comments go un, sort of watched. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Yep. 


Rachel Karten: And then it feels like, okay, so you posted this, but now there’s all this abuse going on in the comments section. And so I do think brands have. A responsibility if they are going to take a stand for something, to have a plan for how they will respond to, unfortunately, what will likely come in the comment section. So I think King Arthur Baking, I want to shout them out, because they do such an amazing job of this. And I do think that is a social person’s responsibility in that case, to have a plan for how you will back up a decision.


Anne Helen Petersen: When you did this work on a more day to day basis. Like how how did you deal with that, like having to read vitriol all the time. Do you have any advice for how others can deal with it? 


Rachel Karten: I would say log off. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Yep. [laughs] 


Rachel Karten: Have like a set aside time where you are, you know, responding or monitoring it and then go for a walk and fully disconnect from it. Because I know that sounds like the most obvious advice, but it’s very easy for what’s happening in your phone to feel like your whole world. And so it’s a good reminder to just look around and get outside and be like, there is life outside of this comment section or whatever it might be. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Yeah, yeah. I like how on Instagram, if you have two accounts, like you can switch between them and you don’t see the notifications from the other account. If you’re in the other account, do you know. 


Rachel Karten: Yeah. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Like they’re not melded in the same way that they are on say, Facebook. And I think that that’s useful to be able to actually be like, I’m not going on that account. It’s the weekend, right? Like I’m not on right now for whatever reason it’s not my shift. 


Rachel Karten: Yeah. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Our last question is about how we should interact with our coworkers social media. This is from Britta and our colleague Caroline is going to read it. Mm hmm. All right. What are your thoughts here? 


Rachel Karten: So I think I do think this is a sticky situation, but I feel like I would think about it in terms of how you would interact with any coworker online. So thinking about, is this somebody that I’m friendly with inside the workplace, outside the workplace, do we have a relationship that sort of goes beyond coworkers? Do we grab drinks or dinner outside of the workplace? If so, I usually think then okay, I should follow them on Instagram. I interact with their personal content. And if it’s not somebody that you have that sort of relationship with, and it’s more just sort of like a friendly office friendship, you know, just like you have with I don’t know, Larry in accounting. You wouldn’t necessarily follow and like all of Larry’s family photos. Right. But you still are friendly with him. And so I would sort of think about it the same way of is this somebody who you would interact with on social media because you are friends and you are friendly outside of work, or should it maintain more of a, you know, office sort of friendship or relationship? 


Anne Helen Petersen: Yeah, I love that. I also think that this person is maybe overthinking their likes, especially if this person has like a lot of followers, or at least like more than a hundred. [laughs]


Rachel Karten: Yeah. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Right. Like, you can follow and you can, like, know these things about her and and not necessarily, like, smash that like, button in a way that is very public or quasi public. But then also, I think like a way to maybe strengthen that friendship if she thinks she’s cool. It sounds like they would get along and could become better friends is. Talk to her about her, the stuff that she’s posted like now and like I thought that photo was very sexy, but like, I thought like this thing that you wrote was super interesting. Like, let’s talk about that more. And I think that then that makes it, like, less weird. Right?


Rachel Karten: Right. It’s not this, like, unspoken thing of like, I know you have this Instagram account, but you don’t know that I know [laughter] It’s like break the ice in some way of like bringing up something that, yeah, they wrote about. I think that’s a great, a great idea. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Yeah. Like you’re having a conversation about ideas instead of I’m surveilling your photos on Instagram. [laughter]


Rachel Karten: Yeah. 


Anne Helen Petersen: And I do think that that’s like I love how she brings up, she’s like, is it weirder if like, the straight cis guy, like in my work does this and there’s just there are some people who, even if they don’t know the person, like they assume a level of intimacy because they have access to a window into their lives and like comment weird things and always like them and talk about that. And I think that’s like she doesn’t want to be that. 


Rachel Karten: Right. 


Anne Helen Petersen: And so the way to not be that is to actually have a little bit more of a friendship with this person. 


Rachel Karten: Exactly. Exactly. 


Anne Helen Petersen: All right. Is there any other advice as sort of in closing that you feel like it’s like we’re in like such a dynamic place for social media? Is there something that you get a lot of questions about in your newsletter, in your inbox, in your DM’s, that you feel like people are really anxious about right now or trying to figure out anything in that vein? 


Rachel Karten: I mean, I feel like the biggest thing that I hear right now is just that people know that they should be on social media if they want to, you know, grow their business or whatever it might be. But they are exhausted at the thought of investing in social media. And so they are stuck in this limbo of feeling like this immense pressure to post on social media, have some sort of strategy while also feeling exhausted by the thought like hate, the idea of talking to the camera and showing a face. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Mm hmm. 


Rachel Karten: And so people a lot of people that I talked to right now are just sort of like stuck in this limbo, specifically like small business owners or people who are really wanting to start investing in social media professionally. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Yeah. 


Rachel Karten: And even as a social media whatever, you know, consultant, I never want people to feel like they have to be on social media or that they are failing if they are not promoting their work on social media in this most best practices way. Nobody knows what they’re doing on social media. I don’t know what I’m doing on social media. [laughter] Do what feels comfortable for you. And I just I feel like we just are in this world where I see online, just like being like, you have to be on social media. You have to be posting ten TikTok’s a day if you want to break through. And there’s just all these arbitrary rules and social media. Somebody who’s been working in it for over ten years, it’s it is exhausting. You should be exhausted at the thought of posting on social media because it’s tiring and it’s hard. And so I don’t know, I just like want to say that, like, all these things are advice and there are advice for how to grow and do all these things, but nobody should feel like they have to be on social media if they if they don’t want to. And I think that’s an okay place to to be. 


Anne Helen Petersen: I also think that, like, you can find the mode. 


Rachel Karten: Yeah. 


Anne Helen Petersen: That works for you. And that means both the medium some people like Instagram is the thing. TikTok is the thing. Whatever. But then I also think there’s a lot of the like I have to talk to straight to the camera in order to make a Reel or in order to make a TikTok when there are so many creative ways that people have figured out how to make content and like a lot of it doesn’t involve your face. 


Rachel Karten: Right. 


Anne Helen Petersen: And it can be a narration. It can be using, like I think so much of the text to type function that so many people use on TikTok, which is so clearly a way to distance yourself from feeling self-conscious about the sound of your voice. 


Rachel Karten: Yep. 


Anne Helen Petersen: And I guess my advice is just like, watch some stuff and figure out what feels like. Oh, that’s something I could maybe do. 


Rachel Karten: Exactly. Yeah. I guess I’m not like, you know, boycott social media if you don’t want to do it. But I think that there are lots of things that try and prescribe a very specific vision of what success looks like. And I think that success on social media can look a lot of ways for a lot of different people and thinking about what do you like to consume, what feels comfortable for you? And anything that you’re comfortable doing is going to perform much better than, you know, forcing yourself to make some video that feels so inauthentic to who you are. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Totally, totally. I love that advice. This has been really wonderful and fun. If people want to find more of you, where can they find it, and you on the internet. 


Rachel Karten: My Instagram slash all my social handles are @MilkKarten, K A R T E N, my last name and I have a Substack called Link in Bio and it is @MilkKarten.Substack.com. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Awesome. Thank you so much. 


Rachel Karten: Thank you. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Before we go, I wanted to let you know about another Crooked pod you might like. There’s a lot of news to catch up on. And Crooked’s, What a Day, daily news podcast is here to help you break down the most important stories you may have missed in only 20 minutes. Listen to new episodes of What a Day every Monday through Friday, wherever you get your podcasts. [music plays] Thanks for listening to Work Appropriate. If you need advice about a sticky situation at work, we’re here for you. Submit your questions at WorkAppropriate.com or send a voice memo with your question to Work Appropriate at Crooked.com. We love building episodes around your questions and you can stay as anonymous as you like. Don’t forget to follow us @CrookedMedia on Instagram and Twitter for more original content hosts takeovers and other community events. You can also follow me on Instagram @AnneHelenPetersen or you can sign up for my newsletter Culture Study AnneHelen.substack.com. And if you like the show, leave us a review on your podcast app of choice it really helps. Work Appropriate is a Crooked Media production. I’m Anne Helen Petersen, your host. Our executive producer is Kendra James. Melody Rowell is our producer and editor. Alison Falzetta is our development producer. Music is composed by Chanell Crichlow. Additional production support from Ari Schwartz and a special thanks to Katie Long and Sarah Geismer. [music plays]