One of my good friends has a son that’s a high school basketball player in the Chicago burbs. He’s a great, respectful kid and from every appearance I’ve seen of him he’s not only a great son and brother, but also has a great future ahead of him. His coach gave him the sportsmanship award and said that he was the favorite player he’s ever coached. Quite a compliment.
My friend is a rightly proud father and would occasionally send out e-mails to a group of friends that are interested in how the season was going. One week I knew that their team was in a tournament and I didn’t get an update e-mail. Instead of bugging my friend, I Googled his kid’s name since he’s always mentioned in the paper. What I found was his Twitter account and I nosily took a look at it.
In short, his account was filled with all sorts of swearing, negative descriptions of women/girls and other things he wouldn’t want his parents or a prospective employer to see. I thought it was really odd, but then clicked on the accounts of his friends who all had the same things. I went on to the account of our baby sitter who is literally the nicest kid around and it was a lot of the same stuff.
I guess that is just kids these days and while I as a teen always imagined that I would “get” my kids and their friends, I surely was wrong. For whatever reason, kids who don’t know much of a world without Twitter think it’s a good idea to think aloud to their 87 followers and say things that are just ridiculous.
But all of this pales in comparison to University of Maryland sorority girl Rebecca Martinson who has been in the news lately after a copy of her scathing e-mail to her fellow Delta Gamma “sisters”, see: http://gawker.com/5994974/the-most-deranged-sorority-girl-email-you-will-ever-read for all of the details.
I’m not going to pile on her for being stupid enough to not realize that an e-mail like this that reeked of bravado when she hit send was going to come back to bite her in the butt.
What I will pile on for is the fact that the now deleted Twitter account reportedly had items in it so awful, they made her email seem sane. For example:
On hooking up: What you call morning wood, I call breakfast in bed. Yum.
On Mexicans: One of the perks of going to class ugly is that the Mexicans working along the sidewalk don't try to talk to me.
On LGBT rights: Why am I not surprised that the girl w/ a pink mohawk and cargo pants is talking about LGBT rights when it doesn't even apply to this class.
Now I hate to sound like a crotchety old man at the ripe old age of 41, but what the hell was she thinking? And what are the thousands of others that post similar stuff thinking? Do these kids not realize that potential employers are going to Google you before they hire you? What if she starts seriously dating someone and that guy’s parents check her online profile out? What if she interviewed with someone Hispanic? Even if she didn’t send the terrible e-mail, she had already crushed her own future with what she was putting out there unless she is so silver spooned and trust fund rich that it doesn’t matter.
And don’t tell me that thoughts like mine are political correctness run amok or that she has a right to say what she wants. Of course she does, but those words also come with repercussions. It blows me away how kids have no clue about what they are risking with what they put out there. Why aren’t schools over emphasizing the importance of this? Who are the parents that aren’t checking out what their kids are doing?
My friend didn’t really know what Twitter was, but he did read his son the riot act and made clear that the schools he’s trying to get in to for college would be looking at this type of stuff and be none too impressed. Needless to say, the account is gone and his son is none the worse for it.
I can see the benefits of Twitter for a business or celebrity or someone that thousands of people might care about. But if you are only tweeting nonsense to your social circle then it’s ridiculous and nothing good will come out of it.
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