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In the aftermath of the Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeting his support of the anti-government protests in Hong Kong, which consequently led to a PR firestorm and the ire of our communist neighbors, it got me thinking. Why does anybody engage is social media at all? Why would one engage in such platforms when even the most offhand, negligible comment can cost someone their job or even livelihood? It just doesn’t make sense to me.
I can think of a couple of examples of social media costing people significant amounts. Last October, Roseanne Barr’s racist tweet about Valerie Jarrett cost her a new season of her extremely popular show “Roseanne.” Elon Musk’s tweet on the morning of Aug. 7, 2018, claiming he would sell Tesla at $420 ended up costing him $20 million. I think the most scathing example is how last December, an eight-year-old tweet cost Kevin Hart a chance at hosting the Oscars. It seems there is no statute of limitations on internet content.
In addition, being a relatively young person, it is nearly a 100 percent certainty that I will have to look for a job sometime in the near future. Today, it is nearly standard practice for companies screen potential employees social media accounts before hiring them. Why would I engage on social media if it could be nitpicked, misconstrued, and potentially prevent me from employment? Our country’s Miranda warning states, “anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.” Today, anything you say on social media can and will be used against you in the court of public opinion.
Now, I can understand why a company would engage in social media, so that they can establish a following or maintain a customer base. But why would you or I, regular citizens, tweet their opinions or post an Instagram photo only for it to be grossly misinterpreted and have it eventually cost us? And yet, these platforms, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, etc., are massively popular and worth billions of dollars. It just doesn’t add up to me. Can someone please explain why anybody is on these things?Published in