The headline from a story earlier this week about a KFC employee in Johnson City who was fired after a photo of her pretending to lick a plate of mashed potatoes became a sensation on social media says it all:
“She probably regrets this now ...”
The incident provides several lessons of what not to do on social media and the Internet.
First, let us agree it’s never wise to post something that you would not want your family, spouse or employer to see. Use the Mother Rule: If your mom would find it offensive or ill advised, odds are many others will, too.
And although they might seem funny at the time, some stupid posts can come back to haunt you. In fact, stupid posts are usually prime candidates to go viral. The dumber they are, the more likely they are to reach a greater audience.
Which leads us to our second piece of advice: Always assume that the individuals listed above will eventually see or hear about your ill-advised posts. Your mom may not have a Facebook page, but we bet she knows plenty of folks who do.
Finally, posting sensitive personal information about oneself on social media is never a good idea, regardless of who you are or where you work.
It’s particularly something a child or teenager should never do.
As we’ve noted in this space many times before, too many Americans — young and old — are under the mistaken impression that only friends are going to see such information. The truth is the digital age has its own high-tech versions of stalkers, “Peeping Toms” and pranksters looking to make your lapse of good judgment the butt of their jokes.