jailbirdWith every social networking site encouraging you to post your pictures of yourself, it is up to you to you to use discretion in what you post, or it could come back to haunt you.

The latest case of someone using the poor choice of posting an image that will haunt them for years to come is Joshua Lipton, pictured here to the right. (image credit to Valleywag)  Mr. Lipton was on trial for hitting a woman while driving drunk.  Before his sentence was handed down, he chose to party in an orange prison jump suit that said “JAIL BIRD” on it.  The prosecutors found the image and the judge agreed this showed he had no remorse over the incident.  He got a prison sentence of two years for his actions.

While this may be an extreme case, it is a lesson in that you never know who may be looking at the images you post to your accounts on sites like MySpace and Facebook.  In May of 2007, a woman sued her college for $75.000 over their issues with an image she posted to her MySpace profile. The day before she was due to graduate with a degree in education, Millersville University determined that a photo of her in a pirate costume, drinking from a Mr. Goodbar cup at a Halloween party promoted underage drinking.  They decided this was not in accordance with their ethics, and her college career was wiped from existance over one picture.

In November 2007, Kevin Colvin, an intern at Anglo Irish Bank, told his employers on October 30th that he had to head home to New York City for a family crisis.  On November 1st, Mr. Colvin received the following email from one of his bosses:

Kevin,

Thanks for letting us know–hope everything is ok in New York. (cool wand)

Cheers,

PCD

It seems Mr. Colvin had lied and actually attended a Halloween party dressed as a fairy, complete with the wand his boss referred to.  He then posted an image to his Facebook account, and his bosses discovered it.

The basic rule of thumb is that you should only post pictures that have no chance of coming back to haunt you.  The only pictures I have ever posted of myself online have been from work events, portrait style or once when I had a full beard and I was asking people if they thought I should keep it.  Essentially you have to think of any images you post online as becoming public domain, no matter if your account is set to private or not.  Many celebrities with profiles have had them hacked and then had embarrassing images released to the world.

Basically, always think twice before posting an image online… and then always err on the side of caution.

Categories: Facebook, Web 101   
 

3 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

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