Posts and tweets can and will be used against you

Is it just me or the world is getting smaller and smaller? Like really. I meet someone for the first time and by the time we talk for a few minutes, I realise that they know one or two people I know. Sometimes I meet someone and they immediately look familiar or their name sounds familiar. Thanks to social media, the world has shrunk a lot.

I remember back in secondary school when ‘gist’ used to spread about the escapades of the bad boys and girls of the time. You listen to the gory details of the gist and when you finally meet the parties involved in person, it takes the intervention of God for you to look at them normally. That thing happened to me so many times. In my mind I would be like, “So this is the Rosie? Hian!” Now it didn’t matter whether that girl made a mistake or the gist was blown out of proportion (as they usually were), I had already formed my opinion of that person before I met them and it took a lot to change that opinion that I had.

There was one time that I actually got to know one of the girls who unfortunately was a victim of exaggerated gist. I cannot even write the things they said she did. I couldn’t close my mouth as the gist was being told. “That girl must be wayward” was the conclusion we all reached. Months after, in sixth form, I met this girl. When she introduced herself, I knew there was something familiar about her but I couldn’t place my finger on it. Back then the person giving you the gist would usually give the finest details of how the offending party looked and other details they thought would be useful. So as this girl continued to speak, I figured out where I knew her from. “God forbid bad thing” was my immediate reaction. I did not want to be seen near her so that nobody would tag me and her together.

I did that for a while until one day my dad’s driver came late to pick me up and we talked. That was when I realised that half of the things they said she did, she didn’t do. As the gist moved from one mouth to the next, it got coated with loads of pepper and sugar. I got to know the real her. While she was not an angel, she was just an imperfect human being like all of us. However one mistake caused her name to be tainted. How many of the people who listened to the gist with me would she have the chance to speak to just to correct the impression they had of her?

A good name is very valuable. Treasure your name. While I acknowledge that you will make mistakes every now and then, don’t make it a habit to do the wrong things consistently. Don’t be known as the guy with a bad attitude or the lady with a caustic tongue. Gist spreads like wild fire and social media will help fan the flames very well. I have previously written about the time I went for an interview and the lady looked at my name and was like “I know you from somewhere.” By the time we reached the bottom of the matter, she used to read some of my articles that were featured on a particular platform and she was blessed by them. We quickly struck a conversation and they interview went smoothly.

Mind the things you post on social media. Yes make use of the fundamental human right of freedom of speech but exercise that freedom with caution. I look at the things some people post on social media sometimes and I wonder if they are thinking of their future. You know the funny things you tweet and post can and will be used against you in the future even if you delete them? I mean look at this ‘memories’ thing that Facebook has started doing. It shows me posts that I clearly remember deleting.

If you are angry and you want to express your frustrations, speak to someone. If you have to post it online, write a coded message. You don’t have to be abusive. You can express your anger sensibly. I do it all the time. And may I advice that you refrain from posting stuff when you are at the height of passion. More often than not, when you go back to read what you posted, you may not like it. Calm down and tweet/ post responsibly.

Be wise on social media not just for today but for the future. Have a blessed week!

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