Blog Feature

By: Jennifer Devitt on April 13th, 2014

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Social media prank gone wrong. Some things just are not funny.

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Social Media. People of all ages are using it these days. Whether they be on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. Individuals are on social media, businesses are on social media, teens and even younger children are on some sort of social network. It's not a new thing to remind individuals to think twice before you put something on social media. Always think of the perception of others, your audience, and future complications from the information you share.

It is estimated that 72 percent of all internet users are on social media. With so many on varying networks, it's not a surprise when you hear about a celebrity or perhaps a business saying something they wish they could almost immediately take back. Everyone is a bit braver when hiding behind a keyboard. It's easy to blurt things out without fear of a comeback when you do not face to face. But, we all need to think twice, then think again prior to broadcasting every thought.

This weekend a 14-year-old girl tweeted at American Airlines. Her tweet said the following: "@AmericanAir hello my name's Ibrahim and I'm from Afghanistan. I am part of Al Qaida and on June 1st I'm gonna do something really big bye". Needless to say, American Airlines took her tweet seriously, responded swiftly that they take these things seriously and that they would be forwarding information to the FBI. The teen then panicked saying she was joking and "wanted to be famous like Demi Lovato, not Osama Bin Laden".

I applaud the response from American Airlines and hope that this teen learned her lesson. I also hope she serves as a lesson for all the rest of us. It's not just teens who say stupid things on social media, it's adults and businesses alike. In this case, the teen did not attempt to delete the tweet, but many before her have done just that. Problem is that by the time you delete the offending tweet, someone, somewhere probably saw it and may have taken a screen shot. We all need to consider the future when we put anything on social media. It can prevent teens from getting into colleges, getting on sports teams or getting a job. It can damage a business reputation in seconds. It can cause an individual to lose their job or prevent them from getting a future one. It is important for businesses to have a web presence. They need make sure their presence is positive. It is important to remember that it's not just what is on your website that may reach a customer or potential customer it is also what you say on social networks.

Social media is a wonderful tool but we all need to think before we share just like we should think before we speak. Treat your fellow social media peers with the same respect you would someone you meet face to face. This is an important lesson for parents to on the importance of monitoring your children's social media usage. Also, it's important to stress that no matter what your age, joking about blowing up airplanes is no laughing matter.

I wonder if this 14-year-old is enjoying her time with the FBI. Do you think she feels as popular as Demi Lovato now? What steps do you take when sharing on social media to be sure you are not saying something you will regret? Are you teaching your children and your staff about future implications from one little tweet?