Recent news items like Justine’s Tweet: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/15/magazine/how-one-stupid-tweet-ruined-justine-saccos-life.html?_r=0 or the recent University of Oklahoma fraternity racist bus chant video have me reflecting on the power of social media.
News, whether good, bad, true or false travels around the world at the speed of light squared. Critics and judgers delight in coming to an opinion after reading 144 characters or viewing 23 seconds of video. Lack of research, understanding, fact checking and gullibility result in an instant opinion. And yes, include me as a guilty party from time to time of making snap judgments on social media news.
For the professional horseman concerned about personal brand and social media image, my conclusion is to heed Grandma’s advice: “If you can’t say anything nice, then don’t say anything at all.” This maxim for past generations is ignored or long forgotten by many social media users’ irreverence for civility and good manners .
There is a video camera just about everywhere you go, either always recording in public or commercial places or ready to record anywhere on the quick draw of a smartphone from a pocket. Freedom of speech still exists, but a well crafted press release is more advisable than spontaneity if you prefer to avoid the potential wrath and shaming of the trolls of social media.
Think before you speak has never been a more important guide line. There are few private conversations now. Your actions and words are being recorded for history whether you like it or not.
Make sure they are what you want recorded for your legacy.