Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Just Because It's Yours Doesn't Mean It's Private

We live in a very interesting time. Thanks to the wonders of social media, we can see, hear and know the thoughts of all our 'friends' and they can know ours as well.

Through Facebook and Twitter and whatever other social media tool out there (or will be out there), we can post our innermost thoughts, share our feelings, rant and rave about how crappy our boss or day is, and/or sickening the world with how much we're in love.

We do this all the while thinking, "It's OK. These are my thoughts and feelings. There's nothing anybody can do about it."

Or is there?

This morning, I read a story about a collegiate softball player who was removed from the team because of items she posted on her Facebook page.

In not so many words, the school believed the young woman's comments gave the institution, athletic department and softball program a bad image, especially to potential recruits.

Not surprisingly, the ousted player is suing. (God bless America!)

I'm not going to weigh in on which side is right in the matter in part to the fact I see both sides. That said, this case highlights an important factor many, especially the young high school and college students, tend to forget or fail to realize: Just because it's on YOUR own personal Facebook/Twitter account does NOT mean it's private.

Posting anything on the Internet automatically negates privacy. Yes, it's possible to put up safeguards, walls, blocks, etc. to keep your content hidden. But if it's out there, it can be found.

Like or not, your social media habits, routines, content are a reflection of you and will be viewed by others as such. And yours words aren't always easily erased by simply clicking 'delete.' Tweet something inappropriate or very critical of your boss, sure you can delete. But if someone else happens to retweet it before you can trash it, the comment is there for good.

I've said this before, but if you won't say something to a person's face, then you shouldn't posted it on Facebook or Twitter.

1 comment:

  1. Hot spot, Jay. Good job. Posting slander, liable, or just plain mean or bad crap about people online is just not smart. Social media isn't a place to just spew whatever you want and then get mad when people call you on it. Talking behind people's backs only works in the flesh--online it's broadcasting. On the other hand, school's can't just "take their ball and go home" and drop SAs that don't behave kindly toward the school. Two sides...this issue isn't going away.