If you wouldn’t say it on a job interview…

… you might not want to say it online.

I’ve noticed a trend on various social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook.  I’ll call it “hide-behind-the-keyboardism.”

It seems students (and others, including myself) are willing to say some things online that they would never say in person, or in certain contexts.  If it’s too crude to say to your mother, you might not want to post it as a status update on facebook, or as a Tweet on Twitter.

In reality, and for all intents and purposes, you can’t delete something from the internet.  As soon as it’s out, it is out.  Sure, you can remove the tweet from Twitter, but it’s already been cached and saved somewhere.

The reason I call it hiding behind the keyboard is that it is awfully easy to say something snarky and sarcastic about the guy on stage when you are a safe distance from him.  And you come off sounding like a real tough guy. “I like that Ben Meredith… he’s not afraid to tell it like it is…”  …when in reality I would be petrified to say what I posted in my status if I were standing face-to-face with the guy.  I like a reputation as a straight shooter, without the pesky side effects of shooting straight.

So let’s all agree to not say things on facebook, in our blogs, or on twitter that we wouldn’t say to that sweet old lady at church, or to someone’s face.  Don’t use the internet as a crutch.  That way, as an added benefit, you don’t have to sit through the painful awkwardness of a job interview where they read aloud and have you justify the 15 tweets you had 5 years ago describing in detail your trips to the bathroom.