The conditions of the $80,000 lawsuit Patrick Snay won for age discrimination specifically stated that details were to be kept confidential. So I guess that would rule out posting it on Facebook, huh?
No, Patrick wasn’t foolish enough to share his newfound wealth with the world on the popular social media site—but his daughter sure was.
To 1200 of her closest friends, Snay’s daughter Dana took to her keyboard and composed the following post: ”Mama and Papa Snay won the case against Gulliver. Gulliver is now officially paying for my vacation to Europe this summer. SUCK IT.”
Oopsie. You see, Snay was let go from Miami’s Gulliver Preparatory School. And wouldn’t you know it, some of daughter Dana’s friends were students at said prep school. Of course, the school refused to pay when their lawyers got wind of the ill-advised Facebook post. This past Wednesday, Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal ruled for the school. No money for Mr. Snay. (In a poll by the Miami Herald, 83% agree that was the correct decision by the court.)
We’ve all heard of people losing their jobs, or worse—their spouses—over missives they posted on Facebook. Perhaps you recall the Canadian story at the end of January in which a Corner Brook, N.L., newsprint mill worker lost her job for unleashing an out-of-control Facebook message targeted at the plant’s management. After a workplace incident occurred where she could have been electrocuted while spraying a papermaking machine, the woman chose Facebook (as opposed to, I don’t know, a face-to-face meeting with an empathetic co-worker) to air out her grievances. Isn’t there a Festivus pole for that?
Anyway, here’s her tirade that permanently dried up the ink on her paycheques. Get ready, this is a good one.
Because here, with these half retarded baymen management they think it’s cheap…er to replace the employee than the equipment,” she wrote. Then, calling out two supervisors, she wasn’t done. “Be sure you KNOW, I won’t stop until You draw a welfare check or are behind bars… Lets see how insignificant you feel when you Got a rope around ur neck and ur balls soaking in gasoline. Lucky for you I am still alive. Unlucky for you that I know what happened and when i see you now, you know u better run. F*****g stupid retarded half French bayman. that’s what you get when you put little boys in big boy jobs.
These stories are seemingly never-ending, yet we somehow don’t learn. What is it about our social media-obsessed collective psyches that propel us to take out our anger in such a public manner?
Social media gives us all a platform that was completely unheard of even 10 years ago. It’s almost like public access cable; remember the days when you’d turn to your local public access channel and see the nut down the street with a show of their own? They had a platform, and for better or for worse, they put themselves out there for the community to either be jealous of or to poke fun at (or perhaps a bit of both).
With social media, the audience isn’t limited to the community—it’s the world. When we do something dumb online, it can spread quickly like a virus. Or worse, when you do it in front of hundreds of millions of people, like John Travolta’s mangling of Idina Menzel’s name at the Oscar’s Sunday night. Within hours, a fake Twitter meme of Adele Dazeem, the pronunciation Travolta somehow chose to go with, had 11,000 followers.
So is Facebook (or Twitter, or Snapchat) the problem? It’s part of the problem, but the issue is magnified by the fact that we are never more than a few seconds away from access to our favourite social media app. Who doesn’t have access to his or her smartphone 24/7? Heck, we use our smartphones as our alarm clocks now. The ability to post to Facebook is a click away. It’s a perfect shit-storm waiting to happen.
One wonders whether we’ve become a society of narcissists. We want soooo badly to be heard, to matter, to be part of the conversation, to have a voice, to portray ourselves as someone better, faster, stronger, smarter than we really are.
While no particular demographic is immune to committing a personal Facebook felony, the younger generation—like Dana Snay in the first example—is most at risk. Having grown up in a social media world, it’s what they know. The question isn’t why these social media missteps are happening, it’s more a case of why it’s not occurring even more.
These stories are just the tip of the iceberg. Just wait until we get past the tip.