I was watching one of those news shows the other night (forgive me I can’t remember which one) and they were talking about the Facebook phenomenon and the pears and pitfalls of this social networking site.
One aspect of the story was praising the site for reuniting long lost families and friends. The other was talking about the downfalls. They interviewed a teacher who was fired for badmouthing her students and coworkers on FB. She said that she felt that would be “private” and she thought only her friends would see. She then said it was unfair that she was terminated for scholarly unsportsmanlike conduct.
Hold. The. Phone.
NOTHING on the INTERNET is PRIVATE. NOTHING. If you want to keep your thoughts private, keep them as your thoughts. In your head. Or write them down and keep your journal in a safe deposit box four hundred miles from your house under an alias.
Your job is not a democracy and if you make my business look bad (no matter what it is) I have the right to fire you. So if you get on FB and talk about patients, Twitter to the world that you hate all your students, or My Space the fact that you went to work drunk—just remember it is not private, it will never be private. Consider my “president” rule: I ask myself this, “If I wanted to run for president, would I want this information/idea/tape/memo/text/phone message released?” If the answer is no, keep it to yourself. As my mom used to say, if you don’t have something nice to say (tweet, update, post, etc.) don’t say anything at all.