September 30, 2014
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EDITORIAL
Be careful what you post

If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Parents have bestowed children with this advice for generations.

What happens when you’re not saying it, you’re sending it? Do the rules change?

The Internet has allowed so many to hide behind the glowing face of a computer screen to say all those not nice things our parents warned us about.

As much as we would like to think there are minimal consequences for the actions we take online, sooner or later we have to face the fact that etiquette and civility have not fully evolved to include how one should act on the Internet. It is about time that we do.

There can be repercussions for things done online months or even years after the exchange.

The World Wide Web is encroaching every aspect of our lives from how we interact with friends and family, how we meet new people, and especially how we promote ourselves.

Colleges, as well as employers, can search an applicant’s Facebook page, Instagram account, even Google their name to see what shows up. It could mean the difference between being hired and overlooked.

We can be characterized by how we interact online. What we say and how we say it matter as much as if we were in a face-to-face conversation. Despite the blank screen in front of you, the difference between an in-person and online conversation is deteriorating. It is best to assume everyone will see what you post because everyone does have the ability to.

Celebrities, industry leaders and politicians, exploring the uses of the Internet, can be caught in a struggle from what they say versus what they posted.

The Internet is not Las Vegas. Everyone can access almost anything that is done online. There are very few secrets anymore.

Donald Sterling, the owner of the Clippers, was banned and fined by the NBA for recordings of racist remarks that surfaced online.

Ben Tribbett, who was hired to defend the name of the Washington Redskins, had to resign after his racist tweets toward Native Americans were found online.

How many celebrities have had their character tarnished by sex tapes leaked online?

Many believe that Mitt Romney’s lack of a comprehensive online campaign was a large factor in his loss to Obama.

Anthony Weiner’s political career was ruined when he had to resign from Congress after inappropriate pictures he was sending to a woman were leaked on Twitter.

This isn’t to say the Internet hasn’t had its role in propelling and starting careers. Many YouTube stars are now household names. Justin Beiber was discovered online and, so far, destroyed himself there, too.

Kim Kardashian actually became famous due to her sex tape online. Who would have thought?

The reason some are propelled to greatness and others ruin their careers is how they act online. Anything can come back to haunt you. Just because you’re alone on the computer doesn’t mean the entire world isn’t watching.

Just recently it surfaced that Stacia Petri, Republican candidate for mayor of Warwick, had an altercation online with a political writer and lobbyist occurring only weeks before she announced her campaign. She did more than just insult the writer, but also large groups of people, including liberals and drug addicts. Her behavior could sway her potential voters.

People continue to expect that their actions online simply don’t have consequences.

One wrong joke online could ruin a campaign, a career, or a life. With the growing importance of the Internet in our lives, we must become more socially aware of our actions.

Listen to your parents.

If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.


Comments
3 comments on this item

Jonathan Jacobs insulted the drug addicts and he insults Republicans/Conservatives and firearms owners every single day. RI Future.org has a very small following---they need to write garbage to keep it interesting.

As far as the "illegals" comment that was made, that was in response to Mr. Jacobs asking Ms. Petri to: "put the needle down sugar." Ms. Petri's "illegal" response was referring to that derogatory comment.

She had in mind the FBI investigation: "Twenty-Four Individuals Imprisoned, 12 Others Face Deportation in Sweeping Investigation Targeting Armed Drug Dealers and Gang Members

Operation Gas Takes 15 Firearms and More Than 23 Kilograms of Heroin off the Streets of Providence, Dismantles MS-13 Street Gang." (FBI.org)

Rhode Island, and especially the cities of Warwick & West Warwick, are facing historic heroin use and overdose death rates due in large part to illegal gang members arriving into the State of RI from Mexico, Colombia and the Dominican with ties to Mexican drug cartels.

Ms. Petri also never claimed to be a lobbyist. She stated she would see Mr. Jacobs at the State House because she knew HE was the lobbyist. Ms. Petri would see him at the State House as she has been there on numerous occasions (as a very concerned citizen) speaking out against ridiculous proposed legislation like the ammunition tax, excessive car tax, unconstitutional Second Amendment violations against law abiding firearms owners, citizens repayment of the 38 studios bond... etc, etc...

If the media outlets operated only on having "nice things to say" we'd all be yawning.

I also think it's far more important to focus on the great information that Ms. Petri is repeatedly highlighting that should be concerning all Warwick citizens from across the political spectrum: the $781,991,609 grand total debt weighing on the shoulders of all Warwick taxpayers.

Stories are "spun" and there are always two sides to every story. Remember that kids.

The following is from Bob Cushman's 11/10/2010 Warwick Beacon OP/ED on Mayor Avedisian's "hater" slam. It seems to me that with today's Beacon editorial setting the tone on Petri vs Avedisian, the haters stuff is going to pick up right where it left off during that last time the mayor faced a real opponent - me. The Beacon needs to realize that slamming an upstart right at the dawn of her political career neither helps the mayor nor the Beacon.

Here's a part of Bob's piece:

Mayor Avedisian during his victory speech (in 2010) went so far as to label Warwick taxpayers who publicly disagree with his policies as “haters,” telling them to “go away.”

Is this the type of attitude we wish to instill on the children, citizens and business community when dealing with those who do not agree with some of the positions of our leaders on issues?

Is this reaction indicative of a seasoned political leader ready to confront the challenges facing the city during these difficult economic times, or a scorned individual ready to punish those who dare to disagree with his policies that we pay for each day? For the sake for our city, I would hope the mayor would show more maturity in the future.

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