Facebook Faux Pas
Facebook is a wonderful way for people to share memories, pictures, thoughts, data, video, and so much more. Like most mediums of information, however, it seems to be overused and can be almost unwieldy to keep up with all the content. Some content is of questionable veracity, relevance, and decency. And for some, Facebook has become a means to document the mundane details of one’s life (“standing in line at Starbucks….choosing between peanut or plain M&Ms….stroking the chin of my cat”). I will leave it to each of you to weigh the pros and cons of the content found on Facebook.
On a broader scale one message that cannot be repeated enough is to be careful as to what you post on Facebook. Crude comments, personal insults, bashing of former employers (which could be future references), and other less-than-kosher content can come back to bite you. As an attorney if I am handling a case for a client part of my due diligence involves a Facebook and Internet search on the opposing party and sometimes even opposing counsel and potential witnesses. I have read articles in legal journals and news media of parties whose cases were sunk because they posted pictures of themselves involved in recreational activities while claiming to be badly injured. I am sure there have been cases where a party or party’s witness has had prior statements or writings used to impeach them at the least opportune time. I could go on but I think you get the point.
If you go to your Facebook page you probably need not look to far to find posts and content which would be better if it did not exist (or at least was not shared online). If you are applying for school and/or employment you should be cautious of the information and images you have available online. Assume that potential employers and admissions personnel may do a Google search and possibly even run across some of your Facebook content.
By no means am I telling anyone to stop using Facebook because it is a mere medium for the dissemination of information—same as the telephone, fax machine, etc. The key is to use it wisely and with forethought. I have a Facebook myself and though I do not use it nearly as often as some of my friends and family I find it a great way to keep up and remain in touch. When used smartly it provides a great window to the world.