The Dark Side of Social Media

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It seems more and more often, people are getting in trouble for what they post online. Experts say you don’t fully realize the impact a post can have until years after you do it.

According to Facebook, there are nearly 5,000 statuses posted worldwide every second. According to Twitter, almost 350,000 Tweets are sent out every minute. And inevitably, people will regret some of those posts.

“I have [posted things I regret],” explained Jillian Himelrick, a senior at the University of Scranton. “Especially when you’re younger, you don’t realize it, so I posted some embarrassing things.”

“I just started stalking my past posts and I get really embarrassed, so now I just don’t post anything anymore,” said Megan Rohleder, a senior at the University of Scranton told WNEP-TV.

The story of Bloomsburg University’s student-athlete Joey Casselberry went national back in March. Casselberry called Little League World Series sensation Mo’ne Davis an unkind word on Twitter.

“You end up having these slurs or these comments that become part of your resume,” said Kristopher Jones, internet entrepreneur. Jones has spent the last 17 years in reputation management, helping people recover from what’s online.

Jones explained even if you take your comment down quickly, it still exists somewhere. And even worse, Jones explained there are machines that seek out your mistakes online to capture them forever.

“There are automated bots that are looking for [your posts,]” he added. “They’ll automatically retweet content and it happens and you can’t really control it.”

Bloomsburg’s former first baseman declined to take part in this story. And in Casselberry’s case, Jones said those consequences will be tough to make disappear.

“Social media moves very quickly,” he added. “We don’t have control over it. We need to be very sensitive to how we are portraying ourselves.”

And the effects from what you post can live on years after the damage was done. A 2014 survey by Careerbuilder.com says that a rising number of employers are using social media to screen candidates.

“Admittedly yes, I do it every time,” said Maria Davis. She co-owns a medical services company in Carbondale. One of the ways she screens the dozens of applications she gets is by looking for red flags.

“When you hit the search, it will say in the first line some things like ‘crazy’ or ‘party,’” she added. “You’ll see those keywords and sometimes it does skew you a little bit with what you’re thinking before you get to meet the person.”

That’s why she said it’s very difficult for people to separate their work and personal lives online: because both of those will show up in searches.

“A lot of people wear a lot of different hats in their personal life, so I think you have to be very conscious of that when you’re putting yourself out there,” Davis added.

“If only I grew up faster,” added Rohleder. “I said the dumbest things.”