It seems every week (even every day), someone does something that cannot be taken back once it goes digital. Here are some critical “digital” muscles everyone has to build. I wanted to introduce the concept of “the Art of the Digital Pause”. Why might this matter you ask?

In a recent Jobvite study 55% of recruiters have had social media change their mind about a candidate based on what they saw online.

Here are five things to think about when you do your Digital Pause. By the way, always ask others for their reaction before you post something, validate what the perception will be before you put your thoughts out there.

1. Think before you Tweet.

Although we have been built to respond quickly and get instantaneous gratification, do not confuse this with “I must tweet now” to be relevant. We can list the number of Tweet bombs that blew up in people’s faces and resulted in serious consequences.

Please. Think before you tweet. Once you tweet it cannot be taken back. It can be deleted, but that is never a guarantee that someone did not see it.

We all remember Justine Sacco who lost her job in December of last year with the tweet heard ’round the world.

2. Do the “Front Page” Test.

Look, if what you are about to write were on the front page tomorrow, or everywhere on the internet, would you still do it?

There are several examples here, but let’s stick with the latest one with Ben Edelman, a Harvard professor, who pursued a communications strategy with a business owner that definitely backfired. If he knew that his email was going to go public, he probably would have thought twice about it. At least I hope so.

3. Just Be Nice.

In reality, we should all just be nicer. You never know when your private email might go public. Look at the recent Sony hack. Scott Rudin probably did not want those emails about Angelina Jolie to go public. Or maybe he does not care, either way, there will be consequences for him coming out of this for sure.

Remember that when you are writing your next email at work, everything can be saved. Be diplomatic and intentional when you are communicating electronically. There is always a record somewhere.

4. Some things are just off limits.

Over Thanksgiving when Elizabeth Lauten wrote about Sasha and Malia Obama on her personal Facebook page, she probably did not realize that her post would be such a big deal.

She did not take into account her position, and the fact that her Facebook page was not actually private. Even putting your Facebook page on private does not guarantee you anything. People can still take screen shots and share it. In this case her page was not set to private to begin with – so yes – of course it went viral.

Some topics you just do not talk about, president’s daughters being one of them. Be provocative, but not polarizing.

5. Nothing is ever private.

To the people who grew up on social media, you will have content with you forever. All of your digital footprints will follow you through life. Be very careful what you say, what pictures exist with you in them, and manage your privacy and brand very intentionally.

In a recent study by Jobvite, more than 93% of recruiters will use social media to look for candidates. Remember, a lot can be found online. Google yourself, see what shows up in the feed, images, and videos. Know what is out there about yourself.

Remember to do the Digital Pause, and be your best self,