Think twice before you post

Comments made online can lead to misrepresentation

By Lanthorn Editorial Board | 4/5/17 10:08pm

editorial


Though each person has the right to their own opinions, when you are associated with a certain organization, your opinions are going to be reflected on that group whether it's intentional or not. Whether or not you think this is fair, this is still something that happens. 

As members of the media, we at the Lanthorn encourage our staff members to practice a certain level of decorum when it comes to opinionated social media posts. Since we demand objectivity and fair reporting from our reporters, especially when it comes to controversial articles and big issues, it would be counterproductive to have individuals who broadcast strong personal opinions cover certain topics.

We are not saying that people should not join the conversation regarding things they are passionate about, but rather that they should be aware of the consequences that may follow. Sure, everyone has opinions about something they care about—even journalists do—but remember the implications of what you are saying to others and how this affects them, as well.

For the rest of your life, employers and others around you will be taking notice of the way you speak to others and how you interact on social media. It is becoming more common for businesses to ask for the links to your social media accounts or even to search and find out who you are. One bad post could be the difference between you and that job or could even affect other organizations you are a part of because, really, your profile is a representation of yourself. 

For example, posting a loaded statement about a topic that an organization you are a part of on campus avidly advocates against can negatively reflect what others think about this group as well. This goes for whether or not the organization might have condoned it or agreed with your statement because the people who are a part of an organization advertise an image to others in the community and the message they stand for. 

There's something else to consider before you post an unapologetic opinion on social media, too. Even if you adamantly believe your opinion to be true, is it genuinely helpful to share it broadly with others when you know it may deeply hurt individuals and groups who disagree with you and are personally invested in the issue? Certainly, it may be admirable to maintain a strong stance on particular issues, but for ones that are hotly contested that may have very serious implications on both sides, are they really worth sharing? It's important to consider your real motivations for posting a controversial opinion: Is it because you believe your perspective is indispensable and necessary for others to live their lives better or in a more enlightened way? Or are you posting just to generate drama and controversy? 

So before you push that post button or publish that fired-up, opinionated tweet, remember the weight of your actions. You might be able to press delete, but the damage might already have been done. Next time you post something, take time to think about how this reflects you and others around you as well. 

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