Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The dangers of social media

I get asked all the time to speak to high school and college students.

At the end of my remarks, I always leave them with a friendly warning.

Be very careful with social media, especially with what you post.

Take my word for it, the Internet is forever.

Unfortunately, it doesn't take that long for something you post to blow up in your face.

It can happen in a matter of minutes. Take it from someone who wallows in social media all day, and who is increasingly wondering about the worth of all this online social interaction.

I now get a couple of phone calls almost every week, usually from college students, who ask me if a story can be taken down from our web archives. Often it involves them getting in some kind of scrape with the law, perhaps involving a bit of college revelry that may have gone too far. It wasn't that long ago that such actions would cause a minor flap before disappearing forever. Not in the Internet world. Now it never goes away.

Fast forward a few years. Those students are now getting ready to head out into the business world, interviewing for jobs. Lo and behold, when a prospective employer Googles your name, what do you think is the first thing that pops up?

I'm lucky. I grew up in the pre-Internet world. I have total deniability. There is no video evidence of some of the dumb things I did when I was a kid, and I assure you there was plenty.

But don't take my word for it.

Want to understand the loaded grenade that social media has become? Talk to the kids - or maybe even better their parents - who just saw their admissions to Harvard go up in smoke because of things they posted on social media.

The story is here.

You've been warned.

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