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Some things need to be kept private

October 25, 2012

BURSE

 

FELICIA BURSE
Contributing Columnist

 

Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter have provided people with opportunities to share their lives with and to learn about others. However, some details people are revealing about themselves are more appropriate for their friends and family to know than the world. Since technology allows information to spread faster, it’s crucial to be careful about what information we put out in the open.

 

Some of the information being posted are rumors about other people, about who got beat up by whom, about who was drunk, and about who slept with whom. Spreading private information affects two groups of people: the ones who are discussing their or other people’s business and the people who end up listening to it. People who discuss their private business openly not only put their and their family’s reputation at stake, but also they jeopardize future job opportunities. A 2010 article published by The Charlotte Observer titled, “Facebook Post Costs Waitress Her Job,” a then-22-year-old University of North Carolina student posted a Facebook status in which she complained, using derogatory language, about some customers. After her employer discovered the status, she was fired.

 

In a 2012 study conducted by Eurocom Worldwide, a global public relations network, “Almost one in five technology industry executives say that a candidate’s social media profile has caused them not to hire that person.” If you have a video or pictures posted of you and/or some of your friends doing something questionable and your current or a potential employer discovers it, you may lose your job. Employers have an image to protect, and they won’t want you to be connected to them, lest you make them look bad. You should be especially careful if you plan to go into ministry or to run for public office. As we‘ve seen in politics, your opponents and the media research your past to see what bad they can discover.

 

If your opponent or the media discovers the video you decided to post while you were in high school or college, your run for office, your family, and your life may be ruined.

 

Spreading gossip affects the listeners, too. First, people who keep talking about the problem make the problem seem bigger that what it probably is.

 

A listener may think that the problem is big when, in reality, the problem may involve just a few people. Second, the listeners may become “vicariously traumatized” by what they are hearing. When a situation has a negative atmosphere, then it’s going to have a negative effect on the people, including those who end hearing details about the situation. Furthermore, the constant gossip is a distraction, especially to those who are trying to be productive. A person may not have a life full of drama, but if others around them keep talking about their issues, the gossip will affect them. Finally, most people will eventually get tired of the drama because they hear it too much.

 

Some information needs to be kept among those it concerns. Information about things detrimental to public health and safety should be exposed, not family business. Let’s try to be more careful about what we put out for the world to hear and see, not only for our sake but for the sake of others.

 

Felicia Burse is a senior general studies major with a minor in psychology from Ruston who serves as a contributor for The Tech Talk. Email comments to frb003@latech.edu.

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