What's worse than doing something stupid? Doing something stupid on social media.
It's a simple lesson, but one that's more important than ever for all of us — not just teenagers or internship-seeking college students — to understand. Our digital footprints can affect our lives in deeper and more meaningful ways than ever before.
Director James Gunn built a career saying controversial and shocking things. But when alt-right social media personality and conspiracy theorist Mike Cernovich drew attention to old tweets in which the director joked about pedophilia and rape, Gunn was fired from his role as director of Guardians of the Galaxy. "My days saying something just because it's shocking and trying to get a reaction are over," he wrote on Twitter.
Earlier this month, The New York Times announced that journalist and lawyer Sarah Jeong, known for her coverage of the tech industry's treatment of women and workers of color and her work exploring online harassment, would be joining the company's editorial board as a lead writer on technology.
After The Times' announcement, a group of alt-right Twitter accounts began posting screenshots of tweets that Jeong had written several years prior, insisting that they were evidence of racial bias. Jeong apologized and explained the tweets by saying that she had endured online harassment and threats of violence, and chose to "counter-troll" her harassers, and the Times supported her.