Some things mix well together: rum and Coke, gin and vermouth, vodka and orange juice. While these concoctions make for tasty cocktails and relaxing nightcaps, they don’t blend well with social media. It’s easy for a judgment-impaired person to electronically share thoughts and musings on Facebook or Twitter that may, at the time, seem harmless or even witty. It’s much more difficult to backtrack later and undo the damage done during an intoxicated social media spree.
Everybody knows it’s risky for a drunk person to sit behind the wheel of a car. It’s also risky for an intoxicated person to sit in front of the keyboard of a computer. Here’s what could happen.
Hurtful Things Could Be Said
Let’s say a husband secretly finds his ex more attractive than his wife. He wouldn’t admit this while sober, but what if he got drunk and accidentally revealed his feelings not just to his wife, but his entire social network of family members, friends, and co-workers? When drunk, the filter that guards our innermost thoughts takes a backseat to our impulses. Hurtful statements made on social media sites don’t simply dissipate into the clouds. Conversely, they remain permanently stamped on the hard drives of others never to be erased.
Embarrassing Information Could Be Revealed
There’s a reason we keep our secrets hidden: We don’t want people knowing about, laughing at, or sharing our embarrassing information. Perhaps a husband is still upset about the affair his wife had while they were dating. While intoxicated, he shares his unresolved feelings online. Suddenly, he’s got an entourage of well-meaning Facebook friends – including his mother-in-law – offering him unsolicited boudoir advice. Is this what he wants? Is this what anyone wants?
Icky Things Could Be “Liked”
What a person “likes” on Facebook is a reflection of his character. Even if most of his settings are private, his likes could still be visible to unintended parties. The drunken liking of questionable, hateful, and unethical Facebook pages could tarnish a person’s reputation in the eyes of his friends, colleagues, and family members — forever.
Damaging Alcoholic Confessions Could Be Made
Most people don’t go to the office and announce to co-workers, “OMG, I got so drunk last night I could barely stand!” Yet this is the type of confession tweeters and Facebook users make from their electronic devices all the time. Perhaps this occurs because social media feels so much like high school; drug use and conformity go together in the virtual world like they never actually would in the adult world. Alcoholic confessions are especially damaging when a Facebook friend or Twitter follower is in a position of financial power, such as a client or a boss.
Unfortunate Photos Could Be Shared
Most smartphones come equipped with a camera, and for the most part that’s a positive thing. The place where alcohol, photography, and social media intersect, however, is not always positive. Have you ever looked into a mirror and thought, “I look great!” and shared a photo of yourself on social media? So have a lot of drunk people. The results are often not so great, but they do tend to get shared on viral sites.
Unwanted Texts Could Be Sent
Right up there with drunk dialing is drunk texting; the act of being a tasteless electronic pest. Perhaps an employee is still mad at his boss for a poor “professionalism” rating on his last review. He felt the rating was unfair, but was never able to work it out with the boss while sober. One night after three gin and tonics, he decides to confront his boss via text. The problem is, it’s two in the morning. Chances are the employee’s professionalism score won’t improve next time; in fact, it’s bound to decline.
Social media is a relatively new phenomenon and people are still grappling to understand the various rules of etiquette concerning it. However, one thing is for certain: Alcohol consumption and social media don’t mix. The virtual world is not as anonymous as it seems, and the things intoxicated people post can and will be held against them.