If you won’t say it aloud, don’t type it
Published: Sunday, February 27, 2011
Updated: Sunday, February 27, 2011 13:02
It was the tweet heard around the world.
"Yes yes its wrong what happened to [Lara Logan]. Of course. I don't support that. But, it would have been funny if it happened to Anderson too."
Journalist Nir Rosen, a New York University Fellow, tweeted this, along with other messages about CBS' Lara Logan and CNN's Anderson Cooper.
Obviously, he thought that it would have been funny if Cooper endured "brutal and sustained sexual assault by a mob of men while covering the Egyptian uprising," like Logan did.
Later, Rosen apologized by saying, "Ah **** it, I apologize for being insensitive, its (sic) always wrong, that's obvious, but I'm rolling my eyes at all the attention she will get."
I'm glad he was so sincere.
Because of these comments, Rosen lost his fellowship at NYU, along with the respect of many other journalists.
I always hear people say that it's important to think before you speak, but it's just as important to think before you tweet to your followers or update your Facebook status. My rule of thumb is if I would never say it, I would never type it.
After a bad day at work it would be easy to sign into Facebook and write terrible things about the customers and my bosses in my status for all of my friends to see. However, it would be unthinkable to walk into the front doors of the store, get on the loudspeaker system and verbally abuse everyone who was listening.
Luckily, I did neither.
Now, I have an assignment for you. Go on your Facebook and find at least one of your friends who posted something along the lines of, "I hate my boss," or, "My professor is a monster." I am sure you will find at least one.
Why does this seem more socially acceptable?
People feel that if they are not directly speaking to the subject of their abuses, it is OK. But really, what is the difference?
Making horrible comments online about someone is the same as making horrible comments to them in person. People are still being hurt and reputations are still being lost.
I don't think Rosen would have made those comments if he was speaking directly to Lara Logan or Anderson Cooper. But suddenly, because the comments are being typed 140 characters at a time, they magically become OK.
The truth is that saying something that will ruin your reputation online is the same as saying it in person.
While we may be in college now and don't have a career where we are constantly in the public eye, we still need to be careful.
What if a possible employer found that you updated your Facebook with,"Got so wasted at last night's party"? What if a current employer found your Twitter account was updated to, "I wish my boss would drop dead"?
You only have one reputation, and once it's gone, it takes a long time and a lot of work to get back.
Don't lose it with a thoughtless comment online. After all, you might be the next to lose a prestigious fellowship.
Maybe Rosen should have thought about that before he went on Twitter.