What you write may come back to haunt you

A recent blog posting on a public relations site suggested you need to be careful about what you put on your blog…or Twitter…or anywhere online.
No kidding.

The author recounted a public relations professional’s disaster of posting negative comments on Twitter about Fed Ex … who just happened to be a client of his.

Oops.

Somehow it appears to be new, late-breaking news that whatever you say or write may get you into trouble. Or that you need to be careful about what you write online. Well, this is not a new-found truism. In fact, it’s as old as dirt.

Think about what you say, or do. Take the simple “headline test.” On that sentence you wrote online today (and it doesn’t matter where, quite frankly), how will that read in a newspaper tomorrow? Or, in a career-ending move, how are the comments perceived by your boss when she gets a nasty-gram about your dumb posting?

Anonymity may not be good enough to cover your tracks. If you think your comments are secure in cyberspace, think again. There are various ways to determine an author And, if it’s really bad, some online services may be willing to give up the source of the comments through an IP address or registration tracking.

I warn my students about e-mail. They seem surprised when I say the university saves and stores all the millions of bits of information that flows through its servers. Now, does that off-color joke you told to friends seem as funny?

Simple point: Online interaction is no different that hard-copy writing. You need to be careful what you say, how you say it, and think about how it will be interpreted.

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