News just in: a radiographer at Tan Tock Seng Hospital has just been dismissed from his job for some damaging comments he made on his Facebook and Google+ pages.
|Source: TTSH's Facebook Page|
I'm not going to comment on the posts that he made, for I believe that has already been discussed at length elsewhere. Rather, I'm just going to throw in my two cents on proper social media responsibility.
If I had to sum up proper social media etiquette, it would be this: 'Don't say the things that you know are going to have lots of people turn against you'. Some may say that goes against the fabric of freedom of speech. What I have to say is that freedom of speech also requires that one is able to use it in a responsible manner. It's just like how one should never yell out 'Fire!' in a crowded theatre and cause a stampede..... unless, of course, the theatre really is on fire.
Frankly, one would have thought that everyone had learnt from the experiences of people like Amy Cheong and Anton Casey who lost their jobs after finding themselves at the wrong side of a social media backlash. But apparently, such lessons have yet to be filtered down to everyone.
What I have to say is this: if you're not sure about what you really should be saying on social media, then the really safe thing to do is to simply limit what you say to simple, everyday things that don't court much controversy. Like that really good steak you had for lunch. Or the fact that you just ran a full marathon.
|Or you could just write short, rhymeless Japanese-style poems.|
That's not to say that one should be completely docile and subservient to others in cyberspace. Social media, when properly engaged, can be a force for good.
It's just that one should remember that as with real life, should you step on too many toes, you can probably expect a rather swift kick to the derriere in time to come.
The only difference, really, is that the Internet is a place where one can really step on lots and lots of toes in a surprisingly short amount of time. Likewise, the said kick to the derriere could correspondingly come just as fast.
Consider the aforementioned Amy Cheong, for instance. She went from writing a Facebook post on a rather loud wedding on Sunday afternoon to being out of a job by lunchtime on Monday.
Ed Bello's experience was somewhat more protracted, but the chain of events leading to his dismissal could still be characterized as fast and furious.
So what I have to say is this: treat the Internet as how you would treat real life. If you're not going to stand on a soapbox in the middle of Orchard Road and say out loud the things that would offend others, then you probably shouldn't be doing that either on the Web.