The Downside of Social Media

s-ANDRE-AGASSI-METH-largeLog on to Facebook and you probably also simultaneously heard of Barack Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize, in addition to scrolling through your tagged pictures from Friday night.

Forgot your class assignment? Just send a friend request to the girl who sits two rows ahead of you, and she’ll likely give you the answer in a few minutes’ time.

Clearly, exploding social network sites provide an advantage to almost anyone who uses them.

But these same sites have negative implications, too. Twitter and Facebook are now used to incriminate public figures like never before. Just ask Andre Agassi, tennis legend. In a recent tweet that has now been removed from his Twitter page, a Sports Illustrated employee released a tidbit from Agassi’s new novel, “Open”. The tweet read: “@richarddeitsch: Book excerpt from Andre Agassi in the forthcoming SI: He admits to taking crystal meth during his career.”

This was the first public recognition of crystal meth addiction for Agassi. Other publications latched on to this tweet even after it was deleted, and hours later, an Australian Web site released an exclusive series of material, also from the book. He also admitted to his meth use in an interview with People magazine shortly after the SI tweet.

The increasing popularity of Twitter posts isn’t a new phenomenon. The Telegraph, a UK newspaper, recently reported that traffic to Twitter has increased “27-fold”. Other experts suggest that the Web site gains more than 10,000 users daily. But that doesn’t mean Twitter is free from scandal. 

Because of the compromise of professionalism and lifestyle Twitter poses for individuals like Agassi, experts have created a list of Twitter etiquette tips.

But are guidelines imposing on a (free) social media forum? Should celebrities, public officials, and journalists be allowed to tweet their personal life without it reflecting negatively on their careers? What do you think? Should status updates even be considered real news?

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4 responses to “The Downside of Social Media

  1. After skimming through the Twitter etiquette tips, I must say I agree with most of them. I definitely think that Twitter helps humanize people you may be only used to seeing in a business suit, behind their big desk, cell phone glued to ear. I also think that it is crucial for Twitter users to be clear about their aspirations for the social media source. In order to not be directly associated with their employer or profession, they should state something in their about me section–so I know that their views do not run along the lines of that of their associates, boss, ect. Being selective about the people you follow and mixing it up is also good advice to keep in mind when clicking that green check mark.

    I was honestly expecting a crazy list of unethical rules that would be impossible for someone to follow–but I was pleased with the etiquette recommendations compiled. I will keep them in mind as I continue to Tweet and follow/unfollower others.

  2. I don’t believe guidelines are in any way imposing on social media. It think they are invaluable for those of us who care enough about preserving our careers and relationships to avoid doing certain things with social media.

    I don’t think there’s any measure in the world that can keep people from making fools of themselves online or elsewhere. It’s in our nature.

  3. I think tweets can be considered legitimate news, but I also think that some media organizations are going overboard with Twittermania. If you turn on ESPN to watch SportsCenter you are constantly being fed tweets from athlete’s pages. ESPN is also creating news out of people’s tweets, whether it be as significant as Larry Johnson’s use of a homophobic slur, or as insignificant as Shaq’s reaction to Melo’s latest dunk. It’s getting a bit ridiculous people.

    • I would have to agree. While Tweets from President Obama or Hillary Clinton or other political figures can be an acceptable platform for news, I don’t need Lindsay Lohan’s latest lip gloss updates across CNN’s newsfeed please.

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