Kathlyn Ehl, a staffer for Washington state gubernatorial hopeful, Rob McKenna, after it was revealed that the she had posted several disparaging comments about Asian and elderly people to her Twitter account, back in January.
The tweet has since been deleted from Ehl's Twitter account, along with 37 other tweets.
Although both Ehl and McKenna issued prompt statements apologizing for the tweets and acknowledging the young woman’s poor judgment, members of the community took to the Internet this week to protest Ehl’s continued employment with the McKenna campaign.
The incident is a reminder to us all that what we say (online) can and will be used as against us.
We rarely believe that our actions in our Twitter lives will affect us in our normal lives. But any insulting comment, unseemly photo, and even harmless jokes taken out of context can offend others and/or hurt you professionally.
Younger people are especially susceptible to the dangers of online oversharing as they tend use social networking sites more frequently and they're typically more reckless with their language.
To most people it would seem obvious that tweeting derogatory comments, like McKenna’s staffer’s, would be a no-no.
However, if for some reason you really can’t help yourself you should: 1) make sure you don’t have a job that requires you to maintain a high level of professionalism at all times and 2) make sure that you’re not tweeting from a public account or from a private account that you’ve made viewable to a lot of people.
Otherwise, you’re just asking for trouble, like the New Jersey teacher who was fired last year for posting that her first grade classroom was full of future criminals.
As someone who has , publicized and judged by the masses, I’ve learned to be cognizant of the fact that you’re rarely just sharing information with who you think you’re sharing it with.
It is imperative for those of you who have a job, want a job or may be looking for a job in the future, to familiarize yourself with the privacy settings of every social networking site that you use to minimize your audience.
The same goes for anyone applying to college.
As a general rule, you should keep your private life and your work life as separate as possible; befriending co-workers, employers or employees can often be risky. Also, if your job requires that you use sites like Twitter, I would strongly suggest creating two separate accounts, one for work and one for personal use.
But even once you’ve gotten you sharing settings under control, there’s no guarantee that an unwelcome viewer won’t see your tweets.
You should make a habit of refraining from: tweets about drinking, being hungover, recreational drug use, etc; inflammatory remarks about people of a specific race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, political party, etc; swearing; posting that you hate your job; pictures with obscene gestures; personal attacks on your in-laws, your boss, or your nosey neighbor.
You get the picture.
Even after you’ve deleted something on your Twitter, as Ms. Ehl is discovering, it can still be immortalized on the web if it was retweeted by someone else, saved with a simple screengrab or archived on a website like Topsy.com.
Overall, most Twitter mishaps can be easily avoided with a little bit of tech savvy and a decent amount of good judgment. #TweetResponsibly
*Editor's note: the headline of this story was corrected.