Social Media Mishap photoLife is messy. It is full of embarrassments, faux pas, and bad decisions. When those mistakes happen online, they get cached, screen captured, and ridiculed.

It doesn’t matter whether your slip is private or professional because your online persona cannot be compartmentalized.

I am guilty of my fair share of mishaps. And I have witnessed some doozies. The bad news is the record may be “permanent.” The good news is the damage is not. People tend to move on quickly, either because they are forgiving or they get distracted. Either way, the attention will always move on to someone else.

Like “real life,” you can avoid mishaps by never doing anything or speaking with anyone. Don’t ever go online. Set the most stringent privacy settings. Don’t share anything. But what’s the fun in that?

A better solution is to do the best you can and use good judgment. However, when something comes up, deal with it calmly, honorably, and as quickly as you can.

Assess the damage.

There are varying degrees of severity. Did you accidentally ‘poke’ an ex? Did you mistakenly ‘like’ a photo shared by your competition? Did you say something negative about your job while set to public? Did you share the j/k version of a blog post?

Recover with grace.

Delete the problematic material first and as best you can. Apologize publicly, if necessary. Apologize privately when possible. Make fun of yourself. Then move on as quickly as possible by posting about something else.

I’ll often see that celebrities or others in the spotlight-turned-hotseat will delete their accounts when the going gets rough online. Acknowledge that you’re human through honesty and humor.

Learn from your mistakes.

Forget about the embarrassment and the repercussions. But not the lesson. Like I said, life can be messy and complicated. But it can also be fun and fulfilling to take risks. Overcoming embarrassment and adversity builds resilience and strength. If handled the right way, we gain wisdom with every mishap. Of course, when you’re in the thick of it, it does not always feel that way. Sometimes the best you can do is remember that “this too shall pass.” Then blog about it tomorrow.