(Un)professional uses of social media

I first got a facebook account in 2007, I was travelling a lot and living in the UK, it became a useful way to stay connected with people I met along the way. I never considered that it would have any use beyond that.

A few weeks ago, I discussed what the benefits of social media are to a music nerd, I’ve also discussed some of the downsides of online music news, my focus was on inaccuracies and disappointing misinformation. But last tutorial we discussed the ugly side of social media and how facebook and twitter can go horribly wrong.

How much information should we be sharing with the world?

My facebook page is set on private, if you want to see all my photos or published information, you’re going to have to add me as a friend. I don’t keep people on separate lists that will allow only a select few to see all of my photos.

I could put this down to laziness, but really, I don’t lead a very scandalous life. If you’re trawling through my facebook profile in an attempt to bring my soon to be existent career to a startling halt, looking for a sex video or a photo of me doing intravenous drugs, you will be sorely disappointed.

All my pictures will tell you is that I’m rubbish at posing for serious photos and I enjoy costume parties. I’m okay with you knowing that.

I tweet quite a lot. Mostly a lot of crap I don’t think anyone will care about. I don’t really give it a lot of thought, but I suppose subconsciously, I wouldn’t tweet anything I wouldn’t say in ‘real life’.

If I live by any sort of social networking philosophy it would probably be, “If you wouldn’t happily exchange this information, with anyone in the world – don’t tweet it, don’t write it, don’t publish it.” Because when you publish anything on the internet, this is what you are essentially doing.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with a little criticism, but if you’re going to voice it in any forum, you should be prepared to back it up in person.

In class we discussed the Catherine Deveny example. A columnist from the Age who lost her job after last year’s Logies where she published some controversial tweets.

The two gaining the most attention were:

In my opinion, the Rove tweet was potentially the more hurtful of the two, but it is the Bindi Irwin one that seems to be the most often quoted. She said the tweet was intended to be satirical.

“I used humour to highlight the celebrity culture, the raunch culture and the sexualisation, sexual objectification of women’s bodies.”

She told ABC Radio:

“You’ve got to understand the context of social networking to understand it (the humour),”

“It’s passing notes in class, it’s little text messages (and) it’s been taken out of context.”

I get it. But Catherine’s story has shown the consequences of twitter can be much more serious than a teacher reading that ‘note’ in front of class.

And as usual we can learn a lesson from a rockstar. Courtney Love – probably the poster child of how not to use twitter.

Her biggest social media disaster, resulted in her paying $430,000 to settle a defamation suit. Fashion designer Dawn Simorangkir accused Courtney of making “malicious and false statements” about her on twitter.

According to Hollywood Reporter these tweets, “announced that Simorangkir was a drug-pushing prostitute with a history of assault and battery who lost custody of her own child and capitalized on Love’s fame before stealing from her.”

Other lessons we can learn from Courtney include:

1. Don’t post naked pictures of yourself, especially if you’re unfamiliar with how to use the Direct Message function.

2. Twitter is not the ideal platform for parenting.

3. Or for fighting with other famous musicians (though we can mainly blame Billy Corgan for this one).

But she’s not all bad. Here’s a song from Hole’s 1994 Live Through This album.

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