Sometimes famous people do dumb things on social media.
Like in 2014, when Shaquille O’Neal, (former NBA star) used the social media site Instagram to post a picture of himself mocking Jahmel Binon—a young man with ectodermal dysplasia. Ectodermal dysplasia is a disorder that limits hair and tooth growth.
Or that same year, when Academy Award nominee James Franco direct messaged a 17-year old girl on Instagram inquiring which hotel she was staying in.
Social media blunders like those remind us to be careful about what we post. Billionaire and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has suggested that social media users, celebrity or not, shouldn’t just be careful about what they say or post on social media, they should also be careful to manage what they have already said and posted.
In a 2014 interview with INC. Media, Cuban said, “The biggest mistake that people make in social media is that they let their posts live forever.” He claims that social media posts written years ago (when you were a completely different person) could resurface today to disband your integrity in front of a court of law. He implies that any of your messages or posts could come back to haunt you. And he could be right.
In Brogan v. Rosenn, Jenkins & Greenwald it was decided that once relevancy was proven, social media was a valid form of discovering evidence and that a person’s social media accounts could be monitored. So that #TBT (throwback Thursday) pic of you and your buddies grinding on the Lincoln Memorial during spring break 2002 might be something worth deleting from your profile.
Cuban reiterates the importance of managing your social media accounts daily by always being considerate of what you post. Don’t just think twice. Think four or five times about you’re about to post before you post it. Not only can your social media history be incriminating in court of law, a poorly thought out tweet could leave you jobless. Just ask comedian Gilbert Gottfried. Or should I say “Gilbert Got-fired?”. In 2011, during the tsunami in Japan, the comedian and voice of the parrot Iago from Disney’s Aladdin was working for Aflac. While he was voicing the Aflac duck, he cracked a few jokes at the expense of the victims of the tsunami and earthquakes. 75% of Aflac’s revenue was earned in Japan, so that they had more than enough grounds for firing him.
Cuban claims in his interview that social media is the end of privacy as we know it. However, he doesn’t claim that it’s a bad thing. Social media is a great platform for networking and reconnecting, as well as for keeping up with Grandma’s endless posts of bible verses and sunsets. We can use it to expand our relationships and our careers.
However, social media isn’t a digital playground free of consequences. It’s always wise to be careful and considerate of what you say and post on social media (just like you would be in reality).