Social media elephants don't ever forget past sins

By Kourtney Shaw

Last week’s controversial news story about Paris Brown and her resignation from her role as Youth Crime Commissioner is a lesson for us all.

Who has not said something abruptly to a friend in the heat of the moment and regretted it instantly? You can try to build those bridges but you can’t take back the words, regardless of how much you would like to.

Similarly, on social media platforms like Twitter you are solely responsible for the things you say and just like spoken words, you can’t take them back. Even deleted posts leave a mark and someone will have seen them.

Your posts lie there wallowing in the public domain for everyone to see and without the appropriate thought, care and attention applied to each of your posts, you may just come to regret them.  

Accusations about Lord McAlpine which found their way onto Twitter demonstrated that defamation online is just as serious as making wrongful, libellous claims in print.

Lawsuits were issued and the debate on how we should treat slander online picked up more speed.  There’s no doubt in my mind that in an era where social media is rapidly evolving, there lies a huge lack of understanding amongst the public around the potential damage ill-judged posting can bring.

Plato once said “wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something.”

This statement is as true now as it was when he wrote it long ago.

As PR consultants, we advise and educate our clients about their responsibilities when posting on social media to ensure they consider every possible way a sentence could be interpreted. 

At Calacus we understand the dangers of social media intrinsically and do our utmost to ensure our clients online behaviour is in accordance with ethics, at all times. 

Just remember –  think before you speak and fundamentally, before you post. You never know what will come back to haunt you because social elephants don’t forget.