Can Social Media Ruin Your Life?


Sometimes, life’s lessons can be hard.  Just ask Justine Sacco.  If you missed it, last week there was quite a splash, and Slate reported “Justine Sacco: ‘I Am in Anguish’ Over Offensive AIDS-in-Africa Tweet” after she made the following tweet:

Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!

She has since profusely apologized, but that did not save her from the aftermath.  Not only did she receive the scorn of a significant portion of the net, but she lost her job over it.  She didn’t even know the brouhaha was going on because she was on a plane with her phone turned off.  It was when she landed that she discovered the entire mess and that she was fired at the same time.

The irony is that she was an executive who worked for a public relations department of Barry Diller that manages websites.  What was she thinking?  Apparently, she was not!

At any rate, this should be a lesson that anyone can get carried away online and ruin their reputation and even their career.  I tell my daughter, “It only takes one mistake to ruin the rest of your life.”  Yet, how many stories have you heard of prospective employers checking out someone’s Facebook page only to see a bunch of intoxicated antics?

People usually go to great lengths to project an image in their professional and even their personal life.  The same care and feeding of a reputation needs to be done online as well.