Now that the Christmas season is upon us, the time has come for many of us to let our hair down and have a good old knees-up at the office Christmas party.

But before you log onto Facebook to upload photos taken while you were stumbling around in a drunken stupor, you may be wise to think first about the potential damage those pictures could have on your and your company’s online reputation.

Yet, despite the repeated warnings, it would appear that many people are still ignoring this sound PR advice and continue to post personal information to their Facebook profiles, which they only later regret.

This is the conclusion of a new social media survey, conducted by digital marketing agency White Hat Media, which revealed that a third of people had sometime wished they’d kept photographs or personal details to themselves.

What’s more, around 30% of the 2,000 adults questioned in the study said they’d often looked back at past social media updates and cringed about what they’d written.

About another third also admitted they’d be embarrassed at the idea that certain friends or family members may have seen some of their less compromising photos or posts.

Too much information
PR professionals have long been warning clients about the dangers of posting too much personal information online.

However, this study reveals that people are still making the same mistakes, with one in five people admitting they probably said far too much online and 53% admitting they wouldn’t confide in half of their followers face to face.

But of particular concern was the number of people who had claimed they’d lost out on a job as a result of an employer being far from impressed with photos they had seen online – more than one in 20.

This is not just a significant statistic to individuals but also to the companies that employ those who frequently make social media indiscretions.

And the reason is simple. The online behaviour of everyone within an organisation is equally available to potential customers.

So if you’re thinking about publishing every intimate detail of your Christmas do this year, you’re not just risking your own personal reputation but also that of your employers.