Social media is…

  • current.
  • fun.
  • moves fast.
  • public.
  • connects people across the globe.
  • provides businesses and people another medium in which to communicate, market and promote.
  • forever.

That last point may be the most crucial of all, and something to always, ALWAYS keep in mind.

Chances are, if you are active on a site like Facebook or Twitter, you’ve seen articles shared from sites like Buzzfeed or Lamebook (or one of the countless others) that take screenshots of ridiculous, strange, inappropriate or funny Facebook updates and tweets, and put them together in an article in hopes that others will find them equally shocking or entertaining, and share it with their friends.

There have already been well-publicized stories of people losing their jobs over Facebook status updates and tweets. Recently, I came across a situation where a high school athlete lost what would have been an offer to play college ball because of content he tweeted from his personal Twitter account.

The University of Charleston Assistant football coach sent this tweet:

lost-scholarship-over-twitter

At the time of this writing, it had received 2,226 retweets and was Favorited 319 times. (Interestingly, the virality of this tweet is also a testament to the power of social media.)

Coach Hill followed up with a couple other poignant tweets:

inappropriate-twitter-tweets

social-media-damage

Because social media is fast and fun, and a way to become and stay connected with people everywhere, it can be easy to click the “post” or “tweet” button without fully thinking through all the possible ramifications of that update. I have no idea who the student athlete was nor what he tweeted. But the bottom line is you have no way of knowing who may be checking out your profiles or screen-capping what they find.

If you aren’t careful as to what you post, the next 140 characters tweeted could cost you a whole bunch of money, a whole lot of embarrassment, or both.

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