Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my social media close-up

Young girl thinking about social media

“Hmmmm…where should I post how adorable I am? Instagram, blog or Twitter?” Image courtesy of anitapeppers, Morguefile.

Earlier this week, I read a story about a Michigan woman who lost her job for wearing a Halloween costume. She made the mistake of taking photos of herself dressed as a Boston Marathon bombing victim at an office party and posting them online.

The photos set the social media world on fire and the woman was highly criticized for her behavior and choice of costume. While I think she didn’t mean any disrespect and was simply following the tradition of macabre costumes for Halloween, she picked the wrong theme to use and definitely paid the price for it by losing her job as the result of her bad judgement. But I give some credit to her; she did apologize to the public via Twitter and is defending her family against the zealots harassing them.

Thanks to social media, we’re more accountable than we ever were before. It used to be that if you had a problem with a business, you’d talk about it over the phone, send a letter or e-mail someone. But now it can be a Facebook post or a Twitter tweet, too.

Someone I met recently says that if he has a legitimate gripe with a company’s product or service, he now complains about it via Twitter because he knows that the company will have to pay attention. Otherwise, they’ll make themselves look bad by their failure to respond in a timely manner.

Social media is holding businesses accountable for their image and behavior, but it’s creeping over into private lives too.  With the popularity of Instagram, Vine, Twitter and Facebook, sometimes I wonder if I’m going to end up as the unwitting star in someone’s image or video if I take a pratfall in public. Odds are slim (Whew!), but it often feels like I should be camera-ready as soon as I leave my home.

California just passed a law that forbids people from publishing intimate photos to the Internet as a form of revenge after a relationship breaks up. I wish more states would adopt this law to add to the anti-harassment policies of Twitter and other social media sites. And I wouldn’t be surprised if someone eventually sues (or maybe they did already?) for posting any kind of their image on social media without permission. Where does freedom of speech end and privacy begin?

I don’t believe that social media should ever be used as a means of hurting others when there are so many better uses for it. We’ve got the potential to create some amazing and powerful experiences on social media to entertain people, educate them and make them feel better about themselves; why shouldn’t we do more of that?

Caine Monroy of Caine’s Arcade in LA is a perfect example. Through the power of social media, a wise filmmaker brought happiness to Caine and made a difference to this kid’s homemade arcade and his life. (Watch the video; I know it’s long, but worth it.)





Filed under Social Media

12 responses to “Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my social media close-up

  1. You WERE adorable. A definite cutie pie 🙂

    I have a lot of trouble understanding why so many otherwise (apparently) sensible people live their lives publicly on Facebook and Twitter. I really don’t get it. Why do they want to? My granddaughter, okay, she seems to think it’s a private network for her friends and when I point out it’s a PUBLIC place, she thinks I’m snooping. I no longer try to get through; it’s a lost cause. Her whole generation has grown up airing everything on the Internet, which is an excuse of sorts (those Internet waves eat your brain, like invisible zombies). But grownups, even people MY age … huh?

    Maybe it’s made companies more accountable … and then again, maybe not. If you overuse anything, it eventually becomes ineffective, background noise and easy to ignore. Sorry about the rant, but if the woman with bad taste in Halloween costumes had just SHUT UP, she’d still have her life.

    • I always consider anything on Facebook, Twitter or other sites to be as public as a billboard, no matter what the privacy settings may be. So I use discretion. Others, like the Halloween woman, just have to learn the hard way.

  2. It’s really hard to legislate bad taste. (That God there wasn’t any internet when I was young!) We all suffer from it at times and perhaps we should be more forgiving if the offender is contrite.

    • This seems to have been the year for bad taste in Halloween costumes. One news source did a story not just on this woman, but others dressing up as the World Trade Center or other disasters. Ugh. *rolls eyes*

  3. This is just something… gorgeous story, couldn’t stop grinning all the way through… and now watched the rest – I’m hooked …. thank you…thank you

  4. Excellent. The video is long but worth it. What a creative little boy and supportive father.

    Re Halloween costumes, I stopped wearing them when I was 12 and somebody told me I was “too big” to go trick-or-treating. Dianne

  5. Deesker

    It was nice to see the video at the end of your story. What a wonderful little boy. It brought tears to my eyes. I, however, do not feel sorry for the woman who portrayed herself as a Boston marathon bombing victim. There is no sympathy for her. What she did was horrific. Can you imagine if you were the father, brother or uncle of someone whose limbs were truncated by the bombers and you see a pic of this girl? There are no boundaries anymore. It’s a world filled with inane and self absorbed people thanks to social media and mindless individuals.

  6. It’s a great story…a very good “Only in America” story. I can’t imagine that happening here in Italy. The way everyone got together to make a little boy happy is wonderful.
    It is nice to hear that social media can be used for a good cause.


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