Social Media, Posting, and Critical Thinking in the Internet Age

by Bob Rucker

A story recently ran on about an East Coast woman who visited Arlington National Cemetery on a company trip. She took what she thought was a harmless and funny picture, posted it on Facebook, and lost her job.

Extreme or Standard Operating Procedure in the Internet Age?

Check out the story:

This is not the first type of story we have all heard about social media and privacy issues in the workplace, and the blurring of public and private spaces in the “real world” and on the internet.

CNN reported this and interviewed an attorney who reminded the audience:

“One thing people fail to realize is employment is at will. Employers can fire anyone for any reason if you are a contractual employee, just as employees can quit for whatever reason they want. She had the right to say what she wanted, and the employer had the right to fire her. A lot of companies ask their workers to conduct themselves with a particular manner of respect that represents the views of their company. She was on a company trip. They have the right to react in this manner.”

This story, as crazy as it might be, is a reminder to students and faculty to take care when posting publicly on social media sites such as Facebook.  Increasingly, our digital identities and “real world” identities are becoming intertwined, and we need to think critically about issues of freedom of speech, privacy, control, workers’ rights, and surveillance.

Here are a few useful links that include detailed and organized guidelines on social media usage for students and faculty: