The internet and social media in particular has created a vast and dangerous trap for indiscriminate and impetuous people to put themselves, their friends and their family in jeopardy in all kinds of ways:
* Prospective employers can make judgements about you based on what you post, the language you use, and what preferences you have. Without ever interviewing you they can decide things about you such as your character, judgement, demeanor, honesty, reliability, sincerity, discretion, or intelligence. The impression they get may or may not be accurate, but you have made it available for them to review and evaluate.
* Some media sites allow the user to remove data they have posted. Once you post on Facebook it is there forever, even if you close your account.
* Some folks post where they are and what they are doing. Maybe their friends and family are interested in an hour-by-hour account of their day, but so are potential burglars, stalkers, thieves, rapists, and pedophiles.
* I don't understand the psychology associated with the use of electronic social media vs face-to-face interaction, but I have observed a marked difference between the two. With media such as Facebook, the mental firewall between the brain and the mouth disappears. People will post statements or post offensive links, or use vulgarity which might hurt or offend friends or family, but they never consider that those people will see it on their Facebook page.
Here is a prime example of how this thoughtless social media blabbing can cause harm:
Yahoo: Call it the biggest Facebook mistake ever. A daughter’s snarky status update has cost her father the $80,000 settlement he won in an age-discrimination lawsuit.
According to the Miami Herald, Patrick Snay, 69, was the headmaster at Gulliver Preparatory School in Miami for several years, but in 2010, the school didn’t renew his contract. Snay sued his former employer for age discrimination and won a settlement of $80,000 in November 2011. The agreement contained a standard confidentiality clause, prohibiting Snay or the school from talking about the case.
However, Snay’s daughter, Dana, now at Boston College and a part-time Starbucks barista, couldn’t resist bragging about the case on Facebook. “Mama and Papa Snay won the case against Gulliver,” she wrote. “Gulliver is now officially paying for my vacation to Europe this summer. SUCK IT.”