It seems as though, even in today’s age, many people don’t know the reach and power of social media. Although it seems like common knowledge, much of the population to forget that anything they post online can be seen or downloaded by anyone from any part of the world. But as we’ve seen recently, social media can have a grave impact on someone’s livelihood.
If you’re unfamiliar with the story, former Newfoundland radio personality Joel North was recently let go from his job with Coast 101.1 for a lewd comment directed toward a young woman on Twitter who was streaming herself playing an online video game. North claims that the comment was simply indicative of his “style of humour” and asserts that losing his livelihood due to a “harmless joke sets a very dangerous precedent.” While many have in fact chalked it up to being just a joke, this situation hits home for a lot of us woman who use the Internet on a daily basis.
I can’t keep track of the number of times my comments on social media have been written off or deemed unworthy because I was being “too emotional” or because I was “a fat ugly bitch”. I can’t recall many instances in which men were met with the same criticisms when posting on social media, but feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.
Maybe it’s the feeling of being protected by a computer screen, but social media seems to turn us into bullies. I’m certainly guilty of making a sarcastic quip or two at someone else’s expense because I felt as though the ramifications would be virtually non-existent.
Case in point: Drew Williams has posted some videos to his Facebook page of his exchange with an obviously intoxicated woman presumably walking back to her home in Newfoundland in her pajamas. One of the videos which features Williams yelling “you stinks!” at the woman has garnered almost 4,000 likes. Williams has since photo shopped a picture of the women leaning against a pick-up truck and is using it as his profile picture. Some of the comments on the picture read “She’s rotten” and “How much ya pay for dat”. Yesterday, Williams made this post on his Facebook page:
Sure, many people think it’s a lot of fun to mock somebody who is perhaps down on their luck or to make sexual remarks to a stranger over the Internet when the likes and the laughs are pouring in, but once the negative consequences begin to rear their ugly heads, it seems it’s time to play it off as a joke. What many don’t realize, however, is that you are not only representing yourself on social media, but your family, friends, and company as well.
Donald Trump is no stranger to our news feeds these days. Isn’t it true that we tend to think less of those who endorse Donald Trump’s presidential campaign? Wasn’t there a pouring of outrage when the world found out that Kim Kardashian was considering voting for Trump?
Therefore, doesn’t it make sense that a company wouldn’t want to associate with somebody who live streams themselves yelling at an intoxicated woman on the side of the road in an attempt to make a mockery of her? Wouldn’t you be wary about associating yourself with someone who tells a young woman that she’d gain more stream viewers if she took off her clothes?
Before the conception of things like Facebook and Twitter, any hateful, derogatory, and/or inane comments one made could be forgotten in a matter of hours and would only serve purpose to those who were present when the comment was made. But make a comment like that in this decade and it’s embedded on the Internet until you have sense enough to take it down – but don’t forget about the 14 people who managed to get a screen shot of it before that, because they’ll probably be sharing it again.
I’m not saying social media is the root of all evil; I think it’s fantastic that I can view pictures of my cousin’s new baby from halfway across the country, and I can keep up to date with how my friends are doing in different provinces. The point that I’m trying to make is this: Social media is not your private journal; anybody can see what you posted and privacy settings mean not a hell of a lot when your friends are sharing what you’ve posted on your page. Treat social media as what it is: a way to broadcast yourself to the world. Keep your private life private, be respectful, and for the love of God stop sharing those pictures of minions because they got unfunny like a year ago.