Status Updates Can Be Trouble For The Whole Family

By now most people know the story of Heather Armstrong, who lost her job as a web and graphic designer due to subject matter she posted on her personal blog. That subject matter, unfortunately for her, was specific details about her workplace. Being one of the first workers fired for blogging, she became famous for sparking a debate about online privacy. However, Armstrong turned the situation into a win, by growing her blog into the booming business that is dooce.com. Yet many others aren’t so lucky. Every day, we see more and more examples of people getting themselves into trouble with blogging and social networking.

Examples of bad overshares are abundant in our online world. Kevin Colvin, an intern at the North American division of Anglo Irish Bank, told his boss he needed a day off due to a family emergency. This was a few years ago, around October 31st. Not much later, his boss found a picture of him at a Halloween party on the day of said “family emergency.” Colvin was in a fairy costume, holding a can of beer. Busted. The boss then attached the photo to an email reply, and carbon copied the entire office. Sorry, Mr. Colvin, Tinkerbell can’t help you now.

Conner Riley, 22, tweeted about a job offer she received from Cisco. “Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work.” Being obviously tech savvy, Cisco management found out about the tweet, and let’s just say they weren’t thrilled. She didn’t get the job. Internet geeks had a field day at Riley’s expense, and she was thus labelled the “Cisco Fatty.” Regarding this, writer Helen Popkin gave out sage advice on her post on Technotica (MSNBC):

“Cisco Fatty and all those who came before, and those who will inevitably come after, are breaking the cardinal rule of the Internet: Never post anything you wouldn’t say to your mom, boss and significant other.”

It was bad enough that we could get ourselves into trouble, now we have to worry about how our posts and status updates can affect the whole family. Even high school football isn’t safe. The Perry County Vikings in Tennessee had to forfeit their first three wins of the season because of something one mother posted on Facebook. She inadvertently caused trouble for the team with her status update: “How can two boys mess up their room as badly as they do when they’re only here on Saturday and Sunday?” Apparently, her sons only live with her two days a week, living with another family member outside the county the rest of the time. Subsequently, her sons were found ineligible to play. Now they’re out for the rest of the season. The oldest brother, who is a senior, will never play for the team again. “Thanks, mom.”

In this “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” kind of online connectedness, there are too many ways to get into trouble. And now even those around us aren’t safe from our online shenanigans. Things are definitely getting way out of hand. But maybe this is a good thing? Think about it, this is better than church when it comes to changing people’s behavior for the better. Maybe we won’t need religion in the future. All bow and pray to the holy Facebook. Someday when we do a confession, instead of having us do Our Fathers and Hail Marys as penance, the minister will say, “Do five Twitter and three Facebook status updates. And two blog posts about forgiveness. You may go in peace.”

Source: Gawker, NewsChannel5.com, Technotica

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17 thoughts on “Status Updates Can Be Trouble For The Whole Family

  1. How true this all is! I have a friend who is upset with a friend of hers, who said they couldn’t meet on Tuesday because she had to work. My friend then saw the Facebook update her friend posted of the “amazing fun” day out she’d had with other friends! Oops.

  2. writing a facebook status happens once every few weeks for me, mainly b/c of the time it takes to find a topic, word it in a way that will be ok and I don’t mind all my facebook friends to read

    I’m also not excited to share my whole life with everyone, guess at the ripe old age of 38 I’m old fashioned

    at first I thought these mistakes were sad, now they just seem pathetic

    the thought of FB status and tweets being penance is pretty funny, that’s a good one 😀

  3. Those examples are truly cringeworthy. My parents do read my blog, so I have that one covered. My husband doesn’t, but enough people do that they say things to him about it. That one’s covered. Boss? Don’t have one unless you count my kids and I do try to temper the things I say about them. Be genuine without TMI.

    Great post!

  4. I love your conclusion to this post! I’d love it even more if that possibility became actuality. 😉

    When I blogged in the mid-90s, I posted anything and everything that passed through my mind. I got offended with my distant relatives for reading my posts, and continuing to do so even after I’d asked them not to.

    Since returning to blogging after a decade-long absence (2001-2011), it’s been my position that anything I post will be read by the person I least want to know anything about me: my dad. I make sure that what I put out there is something I wouldn’t care about my boss and/or my dad knowing. My comfort level may differ dramatically from others’ (heck, they differ even personally between 2/11 and now!), but my choices are in fact considered.

  5. I remind myself that what I write is going to be available on the Internet FOREVER. Like, when I’m really old and quite possibly famous. So if it’s something I don’t want people dragging up then, I don’t write it now.

    Mind you, my embarrassment threshold is fairly low. *cough*

    1. Thank you. That’s awesome. I’m behind on so many things and topics, I just haven’t gotten around to posting about that yet. But thanks, and I’ll get to it soon!

  6. Right before I click that “Tweet” button, I ask myself if it’s okay for my parents to read (no, HEAR ABOUT) it, as well as my gf (who follows me… On Twitter. Not in the creepy way). And now, my new employer.

  7. Very true words from a wise man. My grandmother used to say, “never write anything down you don’t want others to remember or read. However, that was before status up dates, hell that was before internet, but it still applies. Now I must make haste and rethink my wardrobe today, maybe the Tinkerbell dress is passe 🙂

  8. I am in technology and have been for almost 20 years now. With that said, I am not even sure I know what is private and what is not anymore, even with some of the newer controls afforded us by Google+ and now Facebook. I stopped blogging for a number of reasons. Primarily I stopped because it was too self important, like people really care about my mundane details, but I also stopped because even when I got on a good rant or story, inevitably something I wrote would come back to haunt me. I don’t use twitter so that’s not an issue but the changes at facebook are and my current reaction until I figure it all out is to just not comment on anything and I have cut back big time on the status updates.

  9. I”ve been wanting to comment on this for over a week, and finally…but, most of what I wanted to say has been said already! Enough said then, LOL.! Love the ending to this post. 3 Hail Mary’s!

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