LET’S FACE IT: SOCIAL MEDIA CAN BE TRICKY

“As reported by the Bangor Daily News, Associated Press and a handful of other Maine media outlets, South Paris (Me.) Oxford Hills Comprehensive High football coach Paul Withee tendered his resignation as both a football coach and math and science teacher in the Oxford Hills School District on Monday, days after he inadvertently sparked a major scandal by accidentally posting a completely nude photo of himself on his publicly viewable Facebook page.”– By Cameron Smith | Prep Rally

Social media has changed the way we communicate. Sometimes for the better, and for Mr. Withee, sometimes for the worst.

In my classes at Indiana University, I suggest that posting raucous scenes and raunchy words and pictures on Facebook® during a job hunt may prove hurtful. Yes, that’s right, some employers, particularly those looking for people to fill sensitive positions, might migrate to an individual’s social media posts to capture a glimpse of what the person is really like.

Well, some students listen, and some don’t.

But, when it comes to full-on adults posting graphic material and pornographic missives to the masses, I am dumbstruck by the lack of awareness these individuals have of the pervasiveness of the Web. It’s instantaneous infamy.

Let’s take a look at Weiner-gate. Besides being a bad liar, Congressman Weiner had the bravado to snap images in the Hill’s locker rooms. Did he ever consider that digital images are as easy to spread as measles? Or did he believe he was inoculated against a viral campaign?

While people love digital mediums for communicating and gaining knowledge, it’s pretty clear that pushing the “send” button can have grave consequences for those naïve enough to believe someone out there won’t take the next step and post it to the Web.

Again, as I tell my students, think before you push. It might save your career, or at a minimum a bunch of embarrassment.

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