It is interesting and fascinating how quickly social media infiltrated American culture. As of 2018, a whopping 68% of the country was on Facebook alone. Facebook wasn’t available for the general public to use until 2006. So in 13 years, they managed to get well over half of the country on board. Of course, Facebook is not the only social media option out there. There is Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and the list goes on and on.
Social media is amazing because it allows us to share with people we know (and also random strangers) wherever they may be. It allows me to remain close to friends and family who have spread out all over the country and the world, and that is awesome. We can upload our thoughts, photos, and ramblings in real time. We now know what our favorite actor has had for breakfast, what our Mom thinks is funny and what random holiday it is today. (Today is National Newspaper Carrier Day, so thank you to the Sedalia Democrat’s faithful carriers!)
The ability to share whatever is on our mind at any given time has definitely turned into a giant double-edged sword. It seems like at least once a week there is a news story about someone saying something asinine, offensive or just plain stupid and losing their job.
Last week, a teacher in North Carolina was forced to resign because she decided to post a series of angry, rant-filled videos to her Instagram account complaining about her frustrations with a disabled student. The video, which was posted to her personal account, quickly went viral and people were understandably upset.
Another notable social media related firing was the Taco Bell employee who thought it would be a great idea to post a photo of him licking a stack of hard shell tacos. Not only is that extremely gross, it is also a major health code violation.
When I see these stories, the first thought that always pops into my head is: “How could you have been so stupid?” I truly have zero idea why these people think posting these kinds of things is a good idea.
While researching for this column I found more than two dozen stories about people losing their jobs because they posted photos of themselves doing drugs on social media. I have never been a drug user but if I did get into that, I am pretty sure the last thing I would think is “Hey, Let me put this on Facebook so my Mom, boss and all of my friends can see!”
I understand that no matter your job, frustrations and bad days happen, and venting on social media is a great way to get support. However, if you are friends with your boss on Facebook, maybe don’t post angry thoughts about your job? That was another way a lot of people lost their jobs.
I always try to be super careful about what I put on my social media. I have never been a fan of over-sharing every detail or frustration about my life. And even though I have never been fired over a social media post, I did get a polite warning one time when a tweet of mine about Ted Cruz went viral. I had no idea Ted Cruz’s campaign was a client of the company I worked for at the time. Fortunately, Ted and his people found it hilarious. But, that is a great example of how a brief, funny thought can quickly turn into an actual situation.
So, please think before you post before you accidentally become the next headline.