Why being stupid on social media isn’t a clever idea

June 15, 2015

I just don’t get why people would post things that simply serve to illustrate their own stupidity.

But it’s amazing how many things that are on Twitter / Facebook / LinkedIn etc are not just wrong, but truly idiotic. The internet is like a giant collective memory. So anything you publish online is likely to follow you around forever. Your views are available to anyone who can tap a keyboard. Which is why it’s even more astonishing what you find on social sites.

Last summer, when the Commonwealth Games were on in Glasgow, ScotRail did some lovely advertising to strengthen their sponsorship link with the Games. Here are a couple of the images.

Cambus-langjump

Cambus-langjump

Pole-vault

Pole-vault

They’re lovely. They didn’t cost a lot, as they only changed one sign at the station (so they didn’t confuse visitors to Scotland). I only managed to take a couple of pictures of the stations myself, so I went looking online for the rest of the pics. And on Facebook there were people quite happy to revel in their own stupidity. Comments like “councils wasting money” – thus demonstrating they have no idea how our transport network operates (and is funded).

There’s even one saying “That’s the wrong spelling! Why?”

Now I’m used to people bitching and being nasty / stupid while remaining anonymous online. But to do it logged in as yourself? Let’s hope when they go for a job interview their prospective employer doesn’t look too hard at their online footprint. It’s the online equivalent of running down the street where you live with a dunce’s cap on.

And I saw another example on Frankie Boyle’s Election Autopsy programme. Here are the screen grabs that tell it better than I ever could.

Poland Day 1

Poland Day 1

Poland Day 2

Poland Day 2

Poland Day 3

Poland Day 3

Poland Day 4

Poland Day 4

How dumb are some people? I guess you could put this one down to a simple mishearing. But why wouldn’t you Google something just to make sure before you unleash your stupidity on the world?

I’ve also seen some spectacular examples on LinkedIn. Which, if anything, is even worse. It’s a social site for business. So what you’re doing there is advertising your stupidity not to your pals, but to potential employers. There was a lady a couple of weeks back who was, in all seriousness, stating that a bus advert that was sexist, crass and as far from being creative as it’s possible to get, was a great advert. Her rationale was that no publicity is bad publicity.

I’d argue that, in her case, annoying the very people who are meant to be your audience is not a smart move. Sure you’ll get on the news for a day, but people will still think your company sucks. And it will be online forever.

So before you commit anything to the eternal online world, check you’re not going to look like a giant idiot before you hit ‘post’. Or don’t, if that’s how you choose to live.

I suppose it gives the rest of us something to laugh at.

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