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Well, if you ever needed a week to confirm the potential dangers of social media, last week should have been it. To recap:
I have spent, well, WAY too much time over the last five years or so on social media. It has allowed me to connect or reconnect with scores of people from other parts of my life that I otherwise would have no way to connect with. And it has allowed me to engage in a great many deep, philosophical and entertaining debates. So, in those regards, social media has largely been a great good for me.
Other than that whole wasting huge chunks of my life thing.
But, this week really highlights how an undisciplined or careless contribution to social media can be fatal to your career. Great lesson for new graduates, by the way!
Terry Frei is a writer who I have read and listened to for years, and I find him endlessly interesting and entertaining. But he, having spent the last couple years telling the stories of World War II vets, tweets something, frankly, stupid, on Memorial Day about a Japanese athlete, and it's game over. You can't pull that back or delete it - the internet is forever! I really believe that Frei is a good guy and not a racist, who has been abjectly apologetic, and he has 40 years of public life to substantiate that. But those three seconds it took to tweet just erased all of that.
Kathy Griffin has not, in my opinion, been funny for about 20 years now. Honestly, I don't get it. Frankly, I feel kinda bad for her - the sheer vulgarity of what she did seems like a cry for relevance, a desperate plea for people to pay attention to her. To say her career is now over is probably being too kind to whatever career she, er, enjoyed before this week.
I don't know what will happen to Will Parks. What I do know is professional sports teams don't go out of their way to hold on to minor contributors who cause them serious headaches. And, for the love of Pete, would somebody PUH-Leeze take away the President's phone?
I don't want to be all "get off my lawn" about this stuff, but there's some scary stuff out there. Maybe - I hope - the discomfiture of celebrities finally starts to clue us average folks in to the potential for harm here.
Michael Alcorn is a teacher and writer in Arvada with his wife and three children. His novels are available at MichaelJAlcorn.com
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