There’s no doubt that on the internet social media has been a huge success. It’s made family and friends who live far away seem that bit closer, helped us to reconnect with those long-lost friends from school, and have turned the humble domestic cat into a movie star!
However, there is a darker side to social media that has nothing to do with the technology itself, but more to do with how people are using it.
Recently a stockbroker from Bristol was sacked after posting on Twitter “Think I just hit a cyclist. But I’m late for work so had to drive off”. He later said the post was a joke and that he didn’t hit anyone. His employer didn’t find the post so funny.
Other stories include employees who take time of work sick, but then post pictures or comments about the great time they’re having with their friends. All posts on social media include a timestamp of when they are posted, so employers can see that they were supposed to be “off sick” at the time.
The problems don’t end with what you’ve been doing, but what you are going to be doing. These range from telling the world that you’re not going to be at home at a certain time, to telling the world that you’re having a party at a particular time. One famous incident was the boy who said he was having a party when his parents were away. He intended it for his friends, but then a few thousand people showed up and trashed his house. He made himself scarce before his parents arrived back home.
Social media itself is a good thing, and if used properly will not cause you any problems whatsoever. To use it safely you really only need to follow one very simple rule, which is “if you wouldn’t say it in a crowded room of complete strangers, then don’t say it on social media”.