As Americans, there is one single truth we must learn. Amendments do not protect stupidity, plain and simple. How often we forget that the freedom of speech comes with freedom of consequences. I am seeing this played out more and more article comments. Article after article has been published about the effects of Facebook comments and internet comments and what H.R. reps can do and cannot do.

Dave Burdick recently wrote an article about commenting on a coworker’s posts. Google, “HR and Facebook.” You’ll see a plethora of posts explaining that while H.R. representatives cannot single-out one candidate to check on Facebook, they can make it a policy to check the Facebook profiles of their candidates.

In a shocking revelation, I’m  here to tell you that hiring managers and H.R. professionals alike, sometimes read news articles. In these news articles they may read your Facebook comment about the article at the bottom. If it’s a well-thought out comment, it might encourage them to seek you out. If it’s an ignorant comment, they may second guess your intentions, especially if you work for someone they know at that company. This is especially why LOCAL NEWS STORIES are not the place to claim that someone imprisoning and beating their girlfriend had the “courage to do what they didn’t.”

Take for instance, this story.  Brandon, a man who plead guilty to imprisoning his girlfriend for 3 days now faces 8 years in prison. Gruesome details include the fact that while beating his girlfriend, Brandon “hit her with a wooden chair so hard that one of the legs broke off.” The article also states, Brandon “had a friend drop off tea, honey and Ibuprofen because his voice and foot were sore from the ongoing verbal and physical abuse he was administering to the victim.” Knowing the article was greenlit on Fark.com, I guessed there was going to be a few comments that would shock me. I wasn’t prepared however, for this:

 

{Names and faces blacked out for privacy, though they posted on a public commenting forum.}

>> And now, I’d like to write an open letter to the internet. <<


Dear Internet,

Between Hulu Plus and Fark.com, I have become a bum after 8pm on weeknights. Your greatness is vast with offerings of breaking news, stupid pet videos and the occasional email that I reply to at 1am. But the fact is, I’m becoming disillusioned with those I share the space with. Why, oh why, with your millions of articles on social media and free speech do people still not understand not to comment ignorantly online while their work account is connected to their comment? If you work at Industrial Supply Company, you might want to lay off the derogatory, female-hating propaganda, right? But no, internet. You push them on with a steady nod that it’s okay to be a complete idiot online, because there are no consequences on your magical space. This is becoming a huge problem. You have opened a can of worms to those that don’t understand that yes, they can be held accountable for their actions. When, oh when, will we learn?

Please reply,

Kate

Questions about internet etiquette? This video can help: