You may live to eat the words you post to social media. We all know this. But what about shares, retweets, likes, and follows? And what about the data that you feed to social that tells the story of your life? Defendants or defending lawyers can use this information to put your character into question or even establish a pattern of behavior that fits their version of events. If you’re ready to make a small claim or to sue, you’ll want to ensure that the following activities are not painting a bad picture of you online:
- Liking or Hearting. If you like something online, including a comment by someone else, it can infer an endorsement of that subject matter or behavior in real life. A compilation of likes may depict you negatively.
- Retweeting, Sharing, or Pinning. If you retweet without comment, you may seem to condone the behavior described. If you must share, don’t leave your point of view to question.
- Being Tagged or Mentioned. If a friend or family member tags or mentions you in their latest tirade or offensive spew, you’re now associated. This might be a flimsy argument, but now it’s on your Facebook wall. Change your settings so approval is required.
Eating Your Own Words from Elsewhere on the Web
- Commenting. Comments on articles or on forums (even ones that seem private) can get picked up by bots that post to social media. Snapshots of longer conversations can be used to portray you in a false light.
- Writing Reviews. Be careful and conscientious when you are posting a review. If you write 7 rants in as many hours, it’s possible that you’ll be painted as unbalanced. Or maybe you just thought dinner was really bad.
- Signing Petitions. Unfortunately, many folks do not read the actual statement on petitions that they sign. Petitions signed on other platforms or in real life can end up on the web or on social media. With your full name. And signature.
Telling the World What You’re Doing
- Checking In. You checked in to a gym but you’re supposed to be hurt? You were just tanning, you say? Once this is out there, it will be difficult to pull back.
- Telling everyone about your health, exercises habits, and eating habits. This can come back to bite you. All this data can be twisted to indicate something that is not true.
- Posting Photos. You already know that you shouldn’t post a photo of yourself doing something bad, but a photo can be used for more than that: it can show your frame of mind (happy when you’re supposed to be in pain, angry when you were supposedly calm and cool in situation).
Be cautious in expressing your emotions online. This is not to say that you have to completely muzzle yourself but be aware that whatever you retweet and like can and will be held against you at a later date. Sound familiar? Think of this post as the reading of your online Miranda rights. Be smart, silence your keyboard when necessary and live to not regret your likes.