4 ways you could be fired for using social media

By now, you're probably sick of reading about an officer getting fired for posting something incriminating to his or her Facebook wall. Even though there have been a lot of incidents where officers have been suspended or investigated for both on and off duty social networking misuse, many cops aren't learning from others' mistakes.

Here are some of the top reasons why officers are getting in trouble for social media misuse. Let these tips serve as a reminder to patrol your social networking pages to help you avoid getting the ax for a social media misstep:

1.) Visiting inappropriate social networking sites while on duty. Recently, 28 officers in Nebraska were fired for watching videos or TV shows online while working. If your department's computers restrict certain websites, then it is probably easier for you to avoid visiting inappropriate content online. But with the increased use of smart phones that can play digital media, keep in mind that watching funny YouTube videos, streaming television shows, or playing games on your personal phones is absolutely inappropriate behavior while on duty. Check with your supervisor or department policy if you're ever in doubt about what kinds of websites are considered unsuitable.

2.) Violating department policies on personal social networking pages. Let's keep it simple: if you don't think you would email something to your boss, avoid putting it on your Facebook or MySpace pages. On the other hand, if there's confidential content that you'd only feel comfortable discussing in an on-duty setting, keep it that way! An officer in Massachusetts was criticized for posting a picture of a dead person (someone possibly connected to a criminal investigation) on her Facebook page. 

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