Social Networking Responsibility

I’ve been thinking about social networking quite a bit lately. In the P.I. Reed School of Journalism, we learn about how to use it as a business tool and also as a way to reach a larger audience, but I’ve also noticed an increase in the way it is being used socially. One word comes to mind when describing the latter: irresponsibility.

In the past four years, I’ve watched more people abuse the fun features of networks like Facebook. I’ve noticed more postings of inappropriate pictures and of bold and sometimes malicious statements. What disturbs me more is the fact that many of these bold statements are being produced to inflict some form of harm on to others. It basically seems to me like an indirect form of cyberbullying.  

Not only is it hurtful, but it reflects poorly on the person who posts it.

“Remember that once you post information online, you can’t take it back.” –FTC website

These kinds of comments and postings can even ruin a person’s chance of landing a job. I know my school, West Virginia University, has taken the necessary steps to help educate students on the matter, but sadly only few take these warnings seriously. For instance, just within the past few weeks, I’ve spotted at least one “status update” on Facebook attacking and/or discrediting an entire county, along with one of its employees. This person thought nothing of the consequences he or she may face because of this comment and certainly gave no regard to how the members of this community and the employee’s family would feel. This social outlet gave this person the freedom to make such a statement and unfortunately nothing can be done about it. However, let it be repeated that nothing leaves cyberspace (or the minds of those affected, for that matter) and unfortunately things like this can come back to haunt someone in the future.

I did not write this blog with the intent to highlight the bad decisions of others, but rather to heed warning to those that choose to use social networking sites irresponsibly.