Keyboard gangstas and social media suicides

I remember one morning, while having a cuppa, idling on Facebook and coming across a profile, on which the status was a bit shocking. I had to read and re-read to make sure I was seeing this correctly. Now, to each his own, but telling the entire cyberworld what intimate, physical act you were thinking of, in graphic detail, was not something I could have seen myself doing or ever doing. There it was - a digital signature, which would be there for the next few days, and beyond.
Because let's face it, what we put out there on these social media sites more or less stays out there. It's not like a fete where you may act a fool and a couple dozen people may see you, talk about you and then forget about you come next fete. Your digital footprint lingers much longer and can become viral if one is not careful. Look at how quickly a certain illicit video of a former beauty queen spread not just here, but across the world last week? Sure she may get some new fans on her fan page, but is this kind of fame she was looking for?

What you say or do, post or share with others, can ultimately, depending on the subject, hurt, maim or kill one's reputation. There are people out there who do and say some things and post some types of photos which beg the question, "Are these rational minded persons? Do they think before the do these things on the internet?"

I am sure you have seen some profile photos that leave LITTLE to the imagination or read some notes or updates that are so TMI that you cringe.The global community is no longer that small, because of ICT and how communications has transformed lives. The evolution has thus made our own personal universe much smaller as well. So this R-rated profile, shared with so many people, could have eventually made its way to a coworker, a boss, a future employer. And while one's personal life is one's own business, it should be just that. Personal. I don't need to know every whaznat of your life. My own Facebook updates often poke fun at myself and the anonymous, random characters I encounter daily (gas station man yesterday), but let's leave it at that. If you want to know more, I will tell you, in a message, or on the phone. My goodness. I mean, what would my co-workers think if I posted some McNasty images or McSexy status updates and shared it, Tweeted it with all unsundry. I have a "no-co-worker" rule when it comes to my Facebook page as it is, but does that mean I can just go bananas and post photos of myself in my underwear or go on some sort of keyboard gangsta rampage? If you're looking for that, peeps, sorry.

At the conference I went to the other day, one presenter introduced this example of when netiquette should be seriously considered. I have to agree that tweeting about miscarrying while in a meeting is a bit off, by any standards, no matter how hard you try to rationalise it. And people do try to rationalise their digital behaviour, with "It's my business, I can do what I want with it" etc etc. But what one must remember, the new technologies open you up to a whole bunch of people, people who may not have normally have had access to you as they do now. People you may not sit down and have a coffee with and discuss your marriage, your physical ailments/bodily functions, your sex life with.
I think where people lose focus is that with social media, though it may seem like you're communicating in a vacuum, you're not. Social media is real. You're dealing with real people in a very unique way and having unique, yet very real interaction and relationships. So what you say or do...well, it's pretty damn real. The question is, do you want to be REAL distasteful, negative and hurtful, to yourself or others?

Ask yourself, do you really REALLY want to be THAT open with so many people?


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