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Social Media = Conversation. With the Mike On. In a Large Room. And the Record Button Pressed

I just read about a university student who was dismissed from the football team because he complained about the coach on his Facebook page.

And there, in this person’s unfortunate plight, we get a good reminder: a lot of what happens in social media feels private, but isn’t. It’s publishing.

It’s that feeling of private that gets people into trouble. Sort of like speaking quietly to the person next to you, you think, and then discovering there was a live microphone right there, turned on, blasting your remark to a room full of people.

Once you’ve published something via social media, you are responsible for what you’ve said. In many cases, you’re responsible forever.

If you insist on thinking of it as conversation, then think of it as conversation next to an open microphone in a room full of people.

So please. Be careful. It isn’t private.

(Image: Dmitry Melnikov/Shutterstock)


  • Lynne Watts says:

    This is especially true if you work in the public sector like I do. In my state, a teacher was fired for what were considered inappropriate pictures on Facebook. I think the analogy of using a microphone is a good one. Or here’s another: imagine you are sending the comment straight to your boss’s blackberry.

  • MeiMei Fox says:

    This is so true, Tim!! I am always cautioning the younger generation, with their proclivity for posting drunken photos. I found out after being offered my current job as community manager/social web for Stanford Alumni Association that my boss had secretly been following me on Twitter for a month!

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