It seems like not a day goes by that we don’t hear about someone whose online comments come back to haunt them.This week it’s police officers from Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Dallas who are being investigated after racist posts came to light. Harvard rescinded the acceptance of one of the Parkland shooting survivors after discovering racist and anti-semitic Tweets he made just two years ago. And the list goes on and on.
I am continually amazed how many people will post things on social media that they would never consider saying to that individual in person. It’s as if the Internet gives them the freedom to open up and share things that would never otherwise see the light of day.
What they’re forgetting is that the Internet is enduring not endearing. The Library of Congress archives all Tweets. Google searches the web and indexes just about everything ever put online. Facebook or blog posts can be forwarded way beyond the original audience. And once something is online, it’s nearly impossible to remove it. Ask those who are trying to control the spread of inappropriate photos or videos.
What you say in a moment of anger or passion becomes part of your permanent online identity. Humor often doesn’t translate–especially satire. Something you think is hilariously funny might be seen as offensive to others.
Stop and think before you post anything that could be considered inflammatory or offensive. Whatever happens in Vegas may stay in Vegas, but what happens in an online post spreads far and wide.
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