Seems like every week, there’s a story of someone getting fired for a tweet that was meant as a joke. The length of 140 characters isn’t enough space to build context or convey body language, but it is long enough to earn harsh consequences.
Stories about people facing consequences that impact their careers long-term have caused me to rethink my social media engagement strategy.
Social Media Sharing
Like many people, I tweet links and share funny stories on my social media accounts, but with the daily news of more people getting into trouble with their tweets, texts and other digital sharing methods, I’m starting to worry that I may be, unknowingly, putting myself at risk.
Before you retweet or hit that like button…
Someone can easily add an unsavory link to a long thread and sabotage the entire conversation.
Here is an example followed by my plan for protecting myself from stepping into a sticky mess using digital media.
Ending up in a bad position, like jail, for instance
I’ve read recently about college students taking secret video of their roommate’s private moments–without their consent or knowledge–and then posting them online.
After the people in the videos complained to the authorities, those mean-spirited students found themselves facing being deported (in one case) and facing jail time. I’m sure that outcome was not considered as a possibility–nor was it part of the joke.
Scarier still is the ease of hitting “retweet” or “like”. It is really that simple to become part of the crime.
“I didn’t film it. I only shared it,” is going to get you in trouble as a cyber bully. It takes less than a minute to join in with someone’s sick idea of a joke.
How I’m protecting myself
My latest strategy for avoiding entanglements and accidentally offending people is to stay out of long conversational strings on Facebook. I don’t always read what people have said before me.
Now that I realize people are getting into trouble over being connected to serious cyberspace crime, I’m worried that someone could have easily slipped in a link or a comment that I didn’t check (or notice), that could end up coming back to bite me–especially if I’m updating a status from my smart phone. I rarely take the time to read the whole thread. I don’t know what links other people’s friends may have connected to the conversation. There’s no reason for me to trust them.
Just say, No!
Multiple people showed contempt for the victims by sharing those recordings without worrying about the consequences. It’s very simple to find out who shared the link. Those actions can’t be hidden.
I train 3 or 4 times a week in the sport of mixed martial arts. I know how to do some damage. In combat sports fight language, following someone’s lead that leaves me in the position of feeling like I’m suffocating in quick sand, would be called “giving up my back and getting choked out.”
Once my opponent has the choke locked in, I have limited chances to recover from that Brazilian Jiu Jitsu move.
URI F Arrested for Posting Sex Videos
This article was originally published on Yahoo! Voices as “First Person: Hitting ‘ReTweet’ or ‘Like’ Can Interfere with Your Job and Your Life”.
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