We rarely think of our cyber interactions having consequences, but they do. Even the most innocuous post can become a thing of horror very quickly. And sometimes, we are not at fault.
I won’t get into specifics, but I will tell you that I am friends with several teachers on social media. Before becoming their friends, several read me the riot act. I don’t always realize when I’m using profanity and that was a huge no-no for them.
I get it. They have students and parents and coworkers and administrators all spying on their social media. If they post something and I respond with “Fuck yeah!”, that actually reflects on them. Because someone in their social network has just obliterated the code of conduct and morality that teachers of held to.
They can be reprimanded for that. They can be disciplined for that. In extreme cases, they can be terminated for that.
Sometimes, I have to delete comments from the HJ Facebook page or not approve blog comments because of this as well. About a month ago, someone attempted to make a comment on my blog that was incredibly racist. I don’t know the person in the real world and have no idea why they said what they said. I do know that I don’t condone racism and I did not approve the comment. On Facebook, I had someone post to my page about how Lucas’ character was an abomination before God and that was the only failing in my writing. I deleted the comment and sent a message to the writer. They unfollowed me, but I’m okay with that.
You are allowed to have opinions and viewpoints contrary to my own. However, comments that include hate speech are never welcome. This isn’t just because I have a public profile, but because I have standards that I wish to uphold within my sphere of being. I don’t like it on my private social media pages and I certainly don’t condone it on my public social media. If I allow those comments, they reflect poorly on me. Someone might think that I approve of bigotry and I don’t.
As of late, it has really struck a cord with me. I know someone who got in serious trouble with their job. They posted a meme, innocuous and tame. Someone made a derogatory comment that included hate speech. That comment wasn’t deleted fast enough and several people that work with the meme poster saw it. Despite the comment not coming from them, their place of employment harshly punished them for it. The situation has caused that person to become physically ill. All because of a Facebook comment – a comment made in cyberspace caused real world job problems which turned into real world physical ailments… And I don’t need a crystal ball to see a future of financial difficulties and botched job applications because of it.
So, please take a moment to think before you post or comment on someone’s social media. The consequences can easily leave cyberspace and become real world issues.