Everything posted online is somewhere out there and it is thus important to think before you post. Future employers could easily Google your name and decide if you are hired or not based on what they find. You can however argue that you have the right to post whatever you want as long as it doesn’t go against the terms and conditions of whichever site you are using. It is difficult to counter this augment because if you are aware of the consequences and still choose to post whatever you want online, no one can stop you. It is after all your account and if your friends don’t like what you post, they can unfriend you.
However, even if you don’t care about what people may think about you, you should be careful when posting about other people. Most, if not all, people who write are accused of writing about people in their lives. Writers, not always consciously, write about people they know or knew. However, what you post about a person, especially if it is done out of spite, can affect their lives and reputation. Would you like it if after a breakup, your ex posts terrible things about you? Would you keep quiet if they do this?
There is yet another reason you should be careful about what you post. Each time you share or retweet something you are spreading the post among more people. How much fact checking goes into a post? Do you do any extra reading in the topic? The distortion of facts happens all the time. Some ‘fact posts’ are made up. Not everything online is the truth and nothing but the truth.
Author and vlogger John Green posted a video recently about a Paper Towns quote. Paper Towns is a novel by John Green himself, which deals with people and the image we have of them. The quote was, “I’m in love with cities I’ve never been to and people I’ve never met,” and even John Green believed it was something he wrote. However, he later found out that he never wrote it and it never appeared in the book. While it is now known who actually wrote those words, it is scary to think how many, including the author himself, thought it was a quote from Paper Towns.
Thus what you post maybe attributed to the wrong people or may not be accurate. During natural disasters, accidents resulting in many deaths or war situations, it is difficult to know the exact number of deaths or missing people, especially right after the incident. However, this doesn’t stop media of all sorts from publishing stories about the incident and these often include an estimate of the number of people affected.
While the media is supposed to be responsible of what they post and must ensure that it is accurate, social media is no different. While people can say that they don’t expect to find totally accurate or true posts online, it is still the duty of the person posting the story and sharing the story to make sure it isn’t false.
So, before you post anything online, ask yourself if the post will come back to haunt you someday, affect another person and if it is false or inaccurate. If any of the questions get a positive reply, you should reconsider if you want to share the post with your friends or followers.