The pitfalls of posting on social media

I rarely read a printed paper these days and as I looked over the shoulder of a friend at work, casually flipping through the pages of the Daily Telegraph, a particular article caught my eye. Phillip Carr, a promotions agent took a photo of himself unexpectedly while tagging @ByronBayCookies. The problem was, his mistaken selfie reflected in the teapot was nude.
Exposed by own candid camera
To see the online article, click here.

After a bit of a chuckle, I started recalling the many times celebrities or the public have put inappropriate images onto Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. At times seemingly by accident, and others that appear to be desperate cry for attention. Once something is posted or tweeted, it’s almost impossible to delete or erase. Even if you do remove that rant, nude photo or questionable attempt at humour, someone will have seen it and shared it with their friends or take a screen shot to reproduce over and over again. It’s called going viral and it can happen at the worst possible times.

Now the image above is pretty funny, and will be a blip in the radar for Philip Carr, but what about some other examples of how one wayward error in judgement can mean you losing your job, sponsorship or the respect of people around you. I remember reading some time ago about a school teacher who lost her job because she posted photos of herself modelling lingerie and swimsuits. I Google’d ‘teacher loses job for Facebook post’, 83,000,000 results came up. The most infamous of these cases was involved a Florida Teacher, Olivia Sprauer. A Facebook ‘friend’ who was also a parent at the school reported the images to the principal.

456932-spraur
To see the online article, click here.

There are many instances where people have lost their jobs, one survey suggest up to 10% of young people on Facebook, due to either verbal or photographic posts, one survey suggest up to 10% of young people on Facebook . This may be on account of not understanding or being aware of the company’s social media policy. They also argue that they have strict privacy settings however, if your posts are showing up on your friends feeds, they can be shared and seen by others who may not have the same settings.

I believe it’s really important to have your own social media policy to protect ‘your brand’.  At the age of 35, I have a pretty good understanding of how unsavoury posts could affect me in the future and negatively impact job prospects.  I didn’t grow up with Facebook and social media or have it influence my actions as a young adult.  I make sure that what I post, and what others post about me is moderated.

There are two groups of people however that don’t have the same constraints, teenagers and celebrities. I’d like to focus on teenagers. Many of them don’t have serious jobs and fail to see the impact of the content they post on their future. I believe this can be overcome by introducing a new subject in high school, Navigating Social Media.  In a recent blog post, Trending reasons to teach social media in schools, they quoted “We don’t have a choice on whether we DO social media. The question is how well we do it.”

The article goes on further to explain that while we don’t necessarily need to teach the basics of social media, but more how to handle it and use it to your own advantage.  In some households there would be some very reluctant parents who would be loathe to see their children interacting  with social networking sites.  It is the way of the future, its is our brave new world and we need to prepare the children of today for the future.  We need to educate kids in school on how they can use this to their advantage to make a successful future for themselves.

So the next time you’re thinking of posting up a picture of yourself, have a quick think about who is going to see it, and how they will react, what damage could it do to your brand or benefit the future you are carving out for yourself.

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3 Comments on “The pitfalls of posting on social media

  1. I read the story about the teacher too – it’s an interesting one. I believe she was documenting her ‘weight loss journy’, rather than posing for sexting purposes. I wonder if the intent of the model makes a difference? What do you think?

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