Listowel Banner / Minto Express editorial
Social media is as useful as it is dangerous.
Facebook and Twitter have revolutionized the way people can communicate and share bits of information quickly.
But with this useful technology comes inherent risks. Sure, now you can get news faster than ever, but the drawback is sometimes accuracy is sacrificed for speed.
But perhaps the most perilous part of this platform is professional risk. People have lost jobs because of tweets or status updates.
Just last week a Swiss soccer player was kicked out of the 2012 London Olympics for a tweet he sent out.
Switzerland lost 2-1 to South Korea. Afterwards, Switzerland’s Michel Morganella, 23, tweeted negative things about the South Koreans, stating they “can go burn” and named them a “bunch of mongoloids.”
There was a defence issued for his comments, including provoking tweets sent to Morganella from other people, but the decision to send him home was irreversible because of the terms of the International Olympic Committee’s code of
conduct, requiring athletes to show mutual respect.
Morganella was actually the second athlete booted from the 2012 Olympics for a sordid social media comment.
Voula Papachristou, a Greek triple jumper, was also sent home because of a racist comment towards Africans. Her tweet referred to mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus in Greece.
She wrote: “With so many Africans in Greece, at least the West Nile mosquitoes will eat home made food!”
She tried to pass this off as a joke, then followed it up with an apology after continual negative feedback, but was still kicked out by the Greek Olympic Committee.
The fact either of these athletes would train at the extreme levels required for four years to prepare for these Games, only to risk – and eventually lose – their spot based on 140 characters or less is mind boggling.
But this isn’t just on an international, or athletic, concern.
People in North Perth have their social media accounts used against them all the time. Workers have been let go from jobs because of phrases they’ve posted on Facebook. It does happen.
If people leave their accounts open to the public, they can, and usually are, screened by future potential employers. It’s almost become just another stage of the interview process.
That’s not to say social media should be feared or avoided altogether. It’s a great tool if used properly.
Just remember to #thinktwicebeforeyoutweet.