BOISE -- Many of us are on social media. We're using Twitter, Facebook and more. It's a fun way to connect with friends, family, and even viewers. But when used incorrectly, it can cost you your job or more. One expert says employers, employees, students, and others need more training to avoid long-term damage to their reputations.
This week in the Treasure Valley, there were at least two significant social media mishaps. Some area high school students tweeted a picture that looked a lot like hazing. Some parents were outraged and reputations were tarnished. But when school administrators launched an investigation they found that no one was hurt and it was just kids messing around and having fun.
"You shouldn't believe everything you see out on social media," said Allison Westfall with the Nampa School District. "Also, if you're putting it out there, what will other people think? And, it's very, very hard to take it back."
Earlier this week, an aide for Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador accidentally posted what many considered an inappropriate tweet on the congressman's Twitter account. It was quickly deleted, but he no longer works for Labrador.
"What we're dealing with here is an issue of 'loose lips sink ships' magnified by social technology,'" said new media attorney Lisa McGrath.
She believes the answer could be more social media training and education. "I think the training and education component will happen. It just needs to start happening sooner rather than later."
McGrath also says people and business leaders need to better understand the personal, financial, and legal consequences of posts, because the stakes keep getting higher. "It goes beyond legal liability. It goes beyond financial liability. It is significant and sometimes permanent damage to your own brand."
On KTVB's social media, we asked our followers if they've ever gotten in trouble for posting something. On Facebook, we heard everything from posting pics from your day of fun after you called in sick, to getting kicked off the church choir for posting a picture. On Twitter, we heard almost nothing. So maybe people are being more careful already.