I am often astounded by the things politicians say when giving their opinion on certain matters and I will think “there goes a lot of previously loyal votes down the drain for them.” Some of them are also keen on expressing their views on twitter or other social media.
A shadow that will follow you
Unfortunately for them one cannot withdraw what you have spoken, even though you may regret it afterwards. And one thing certain is that the media never forgets. Whenever the politician, or whoever else, will in future be in the news, the current mishap will always be brought into the story again. It is like being followed by a shadow that you cannot rid yourself from.
At a recent talk on the dangers of social media, Carla de Beer, an expert on the legal aspects of social media, said that
access to the internet made everyone a publisher.
Her advice is to always use the “billboard test” whenever you publish anything on social media. Will it be okay if what you write would be published on a big billboard or on the front page of a newspaper? If the answer is no, it is better not to publish it.
Your Curriculum Vitae
She also warned that everything you ever say or publish on social media often serve as a “digital curriculum vitae.” Businesses and employers use specialists to search out people’s profiles on social media, before making appointments.
One must remember that with our modern day over-saturated social- and other media, any news can quickly spread across borders and even go viral and you have no control thereof and neither can you stop it. Remember that anything you publish can be liked, shared, forwarded or you can even be tagged in someone else’s photo.
According to De Beer publishing on social media should be seen in the same way as getting a tattoo, it is permanent and you cannot reverse it once it was placed. If you are not comfortable with the fact that what you publish is as permanent as a tattoo, do not publish it.
# Taking offence
Although politicians and others from time to time need to withdraw previous statements, the media will never forget the blunder. In our present day society, it seems that people are almost on the lookout for something to be offended about and if they can find something they quickly run to the press or publish it on some or other social media platform.
Gone are the days that someone would take something as a blow on the chin.
No, today people would rather take the matter to court, perhaps hoping for some kind of retribution.
Why not rather follow Solomon’s advice in Prov 15:1 “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
And let us take caution of what we speak or publish. Remember Jam 3:6 “And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity.” Thus the Apostle Peter says “For he who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit.” (1Pet 3:10)
Therefore to protect yourself from the pitfalls of publishing on social media, remember Prov 21:23 “Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles.”
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