Thursday, November 8, 2012

Real-World Consequences of What We Post On Social Media

Do We Understand We're Shouting to the World?
Photo Used With Permission Under a Creative Commons License
Wow! Talk about a chance to really teach students about the consequences of what they post via social media.

This post on captures some no-holes-barred racist Tweets sent out in the wake of President Obama's re-election. The fact that anyone holds these views is unfortunate, that they would openly spew such hate disturbing, and the fact that most of them appear to be young people heart-breaking.

What's intriguing to me, though, is the discussion that is going on underneath the post. A commenter looked up many of the young people whose racist Tweets are featured and posted their names and schools. He or she then encouraged others to contact their current schools or colleges which have awarded them athletic scholarships. Several people have posted about their attempts to contact the students' schools!

If you can stand the language, or maybe take some screen shots of a few things and blur the most offensive words in the Tweets and/or comments, you could turn this into a timely discussion of how we have no control over where our online postings wind up as well as the real-world consequences of what we post online.

You could also encourage conversation around the debate going on in the comments over whether it is ethical to report these students to their schools or not.

What say you? Could you or would you use this in a class lesson? Do you think those who are reporting the students are doing the right thing? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Thanks to @corinnew whose Tweet brought this story to my attention and @marybethleeybnp whose follow-up Tweets (#1 & #2) inspired me to write this post.