What goes online, stays online…

foreverThis morning, while getting caught up on things in my home office, with my ever present social media streams going on the monitor, I saw a well-known dancer who I have always admired post a rather derogatory over-generalization.  I won’t say who or what, you can probably find it, and that is the point of this post.

I know people use social media for all kinds of reasons; to praise, to complain, to share, to seek, to buy, and so on. What lots of people seem to forget, or maybe not realize in the first place is, that temporary rant that is on your screen right now, and off it 15 seconds from now, is still out there.

I am not guilt-free here, I have bitched, posted negative reviews, and criticized companies online. I realize that these comments will be out there and will most likely be seen by the ‘targets’ of those comments, and in general, that is my intention, hoping to get a reaction that fixes an issue. My comments are posted intentionally, with a purpose. I am not saying that makes it right, I am saying that what you post could have results, some that you may not have intended.

So when I saw that post this morning, and know what an influence this dancer has on so many, I began to wonder how her comment might be perceived by her audience, and how it might affect what others think. Please note that I saw the comment as a rant, a vent, blowing off steam at a current situation, and it was not unlike similar comments made by thousands everyday. It just made me think.

I imagine some of her fans who see the comment and think to themselves ‘well if she sees it that way, and I admire her, than I should maybe think that way too.’ On the other hand, I can see people who look up this person after hearing about her for the first time, seeing that comment and thinking ‘what a diva, I don’t know why she is so popular.’

So what is the point?

You are thinking, I am not popular, I don’t have thousands of followers, what I say doesn’t matter. Yes, yes it does. It may not matter right at this very moment, and truthfully, it may never matter, but before you post something, you need to think about the fact that someday it might matter. This goes for words, for pictures, for videos, for whatever, because what you post today, in that moment of anger, sadness, joy, whatever will still be out there years from now. Is it something you want your Dad to find, your Grandmum when she finally joins Twitter, or your potential boss in two years when you are going for that $50K a year job?

And if you do have thousands of followers, it may matter more. You have thousands of followers for a reason, they think the things that come out of your brain are important, or funny, or informative. You affect people. Please remember that in that moment of ‘insert emotion here’ when you post that ‘insert potentially negative stuff here’, because it might affect somebody in a way you never imagined.

But I never use my name, no one knows me…

Or so you think.

In the interest of full disclosure, we had a social media incident in the WTF household. TGC had an anonymous Twitter account which started innocently enough, but which ended abruptly when she made a snide comment about a dancer at her school. You see, although she never used her name, or her school name, there was enough info there that some of the dancers at her school knew it was her posting, but never revealed that they knew. Imagine my surprise when I got a call from the TCRG telling me about the account.

It took her a long time to rebuild the relationships she had damaged because of that social media account, and the one time she posted something hurtful is what caused all the damage, the one time.

I am off my soapbox now…

Sorry, as you can see this is a subject that hits close to home. Remember your words do not go away. Please pass this on to whoever you think might be able to use it. BTW, that is all of us :)

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