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Tough Lessons from Social Media

When you can’t undo a click-send

There are good and bad things about social media.

The good: connections, talking to your friends, expressing your opinion.

Social Media: A Blessing and a Curse
Social Media: A Blessing and a Curse

The bad: It’s there forever. No matter what it is, who you are, or when you typed it. It doesn’t go away.

I learned this the hard way back in January before the Wing Bowl. The week leading up to Wing Bowl was a very exciting time. Listening to the seniors express their angst, I got caught up in all the hype. When we were informed that there would be disciplinary actions taken against any students that attended the event, many students became annoyed and “outraged.”

When I got home from school that night, my friend texted me telling me to check Barstool Sports, a well-known blog that many students follow, because they had written a piece about the email Mr. Dougherty sent out regarding Wing Bowl and Malvern.

Immediately I felt the need to let people know how I felt. I think most people know what I said, but for those who don’t, on a scale of 1 to 10 of things not to say it was a 20 at best. I hit send, closed my computer and went to get a snack. I came back to my chair sat down and thought to myself, ‘what did I just say?’  I started to get nervous, opened my computer, clicked on the link to the blog – and there it was.

My brain at that exact moment was filled with one word and one word only, DELETE.  But I couldn’t delete it.  I said, “What do you mean I can’t delete this? I said it, I should be aloud to delete it.” But it doesn’t work that way with social media. Your send button is the gateway to the world.

It’s a terrifying thought that anyone in world can read your tweets or see your pictures on Facebook. It makes kids very susceptible to making a mistake like I did.  We have all said something stupid or offensive before, but when you type it on screen, you can’t take it back.  The whole world can see that and judge you for that one comment.

Kids don’t think like adults; we act on impulses. Very little thinking goes into sending out tweets or texts or instagrams. Now I send tweets to my drafts, and come back ten minutes later. This way I can remove myself from whatever situation is going on and double-check what I’m sending to the world.

But back to the story.  When I realized I couldn’t delete my comment, I knew I would be in trouble. It was a helpless feeling. Coming to school the next day, I was a wreck.  I was trying to set up the story in my head of how I got hacked and it wasn’t me, but down deep I kind of knew there was no chance of me getting away with this.

I had to ask myself, would I be here tomorrow? Even if I was, would I be accepted by my classmates or my teachers? At one point I wished to be expelled so I wouldn’t have to face the reality of what I had done or the school I misrepresented.

I am writing this so my fellow classmates can learn from my mistakes and see how the smallest urge to comment or post can get you into a lot of trouble. I would hate to see what happened to me happen to anyone else.

All I am asking from you is to take a step back and think before you tweet or post or whatever you like to do.  Because as long as it’s in a place for everyone to see, you can’t have those words back.

About Nick Fizzano

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