Social Media Message

Before you post THINK.

Before you post THINK.

Ashley Rosson

T-is it True?

H- Is it Helpful?

I- Is it inspiring?

N-Is it Necessary?

K- Is it Kind?

Social Media isn’t just for sharing fun selfies or bragging about your vacation plans anymore. The line between our digital and real lives has blurred, leaving many feeling the undeniable sting of a bad online reputation. Especially now with the current state of affairs, what you post can cost you your job and even your social circle. Here are some examples of people whose online reputations were irreparably damaged by social media use.

Craig Gore, who has worked on the shows S.W.A.T. and Chicago P.D., was fired from the forthcoming Law & Order: Organized Crime spin-off because of Facebook posts. One was captioned “Curfew…” in which he’s shown holding a rifle on his front porch, and in another full of expletives, he threatens to shoot looters who come near his home.

Grant Napear, longtime TV announcer for the NBA’s Sacramento Kings was fired from his talk radio job and subsequently resigned from the team’s broadcast crew after he tweeted “ALL LIVES MATTER” and more to former Kings player DeMarcus Cousins when asked his opinion on the Black Lives Matter movement.

A Denver officer was fired for writing “Let’s start a riot” as the caption to an Instagram picture of himself and two fellow officers smiling in riot gear. An officer in Fulton, N.Y., posted an Instagram image that read, “Black lives only matter to black people unless they are killed by a white person” and found himself out of a job.

In 2013, a public relations executive made the biggest PR blunder of her career before boarding a flight to South Africa. The woman took to Twitter with an ill-conceived message that connected the AIDS epidemic with race, and users on the site quickly responded with an overwhelmingly negative response. Before she could even land, the tweet garnered 2,000 retweets and even appeared on Buzzfeed. Not only was her online reputation tarnished, but she also lost her job as a result of a message that contained fewer than 140 characters.

Personal mistakes aren’t the only way your online reputation can take a hit on social media. Take Kerry Harvey. When her identity was stolen via Facebook, the damage went far beyond her online reputation. Web hijackers used her name to create an illegitimate Facebook page that identified her as a prostitute. The 23-year-old sales executive then began receiving inappropriate pictures and unwanted calls on her cell phone. She soon received a friend request from an unknown Facebook user whose profile displayed her photograph, date of birth, full name, phone number—and her apparent career. Given how much attention the fraudulent account ultimately attracted, Harvey found it difficult to go out in public and interact with other people. This case of online abuse went far beyond the computer screen and into her real life, damaging her reputation and confidence.

Even movie star Jonah Hill experienced online reputation trouble after an impersonator created a Twitter account using his name. The user soon instigated a Twitter feud with actor-director Jon Favreau, who ended up calling Hill to express his displeasure. The fake account also sent disparaging tweets to other celebs and comedians, which ultimately prompted Hill’s friends to begin questioning his behavior. Hill eventually had to clear up his online reputation with an appearance on the “Late Show with David Letterman.” During his interview, he stated that he was not on Twitter and would never join the site, so the fake account could not have been his own.

No one is immune to the effects that social networking can have on one’s reputation both on and offline. Sure, the posts you make on social media may captivate your friends, but could they also prevent you from obtaining your dream job? You may not know it, but recruiters regularly use social media to vet candidates that they are looking to hire. In fact, more than half of hiring managers have reevaluated their decision to hire someone based on what they found on social media.

So, the lesson to learn here is, think before you post. Would the post offend someone? Is it insensitive? Does the post show you in a bad light? If you even have a slight inkling that it would, do not post it.

Just remember to THINK.

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