Officially I’ve been a marketing associate for six months and a communications professional for three years, more or less. I consider myself a person who thinks twice before talking, who self-edits quite diligently, and who never means to offend anyone (even if I do mean to offend someone). With all this time and experience under my belt, it shocks me when I still make rookie mistakes. And what are mistakes if not actions done without thought of consequence? It can be as simple as saying something careless online, and waking up the next morning with your head spinning. Because the mistake isn’t just contained in 140 characters. Sure, you didn’t mean it, but somehow it finds its way into your work, your friends, strangers, and the potentialities of your life. Then suddenly you’re scrambling to control the damage thousands of people can see.
(You know, this might not be that big of a deal, but it is to me. And I’m rambling mostly to myself because you probably have no idea what I’m talking about. One part of the title of this post won’t make sense, but let me just get this out.) What I want to remind myself is this: Social media really makes the world a truly smaller place. And I got schooled on that recently. That nasty thing you posted about someone five years ago? And the disrespectful thing you said this morning? It’s there, people can dig it up, and use it against you any time. Then you’re the one in the hot seat.
Social media is as damaging as it is amazing. While it’s important to exercise and insist on freedom of speech and expression, we should remember to always conduct ourselves properly, keep our criticisms constructive, and apologize when apology is due, online and offline. The first step is owning up to the mistake, even if . The second is seeing what we can learn from it. What from the experience can make you a wiser person? A more responsible person? A kinder person? At least that’s one good thing about mistakes, I think. They happen even to the best of us, but we can choose to redeem ourselves gracefully.