iPhone

A new syndrome for you: Social media remorse

It seems new technology is making it easy for people to embarrass themselves the world over instead of just a few, select people. How can we implement impulse control?

We have all at one time said something we've regretted. There are those people who do it on a regular basis because their inner filter just doesn't work fast enough. This can be enough of a problem if you say it to a few people within hearing distance, but with social media tools at our disposal, a momentary slip of the tongue (or keyboard) can reach far more people. In other words, new technology is making it easy for people to embarrass themselves the world over.

Retrevo shared with me the results of their latest Gadgetology study that centers around "social media remorse." Here are some of the highlights:

  • 32% of people surveyed say they've posted something online they regretted.
  • Of that 32%: 3% say it ruined their marriage or relationship with someone. 6% of them said it caused problems at work or home.
  • Of that 32%: 13% were able to remove the offending post.
  • 59% of iPhone users have posted something online they regretted.
  • 54% of people under 25 years old have posted something online they regretted.
  • Only 27% of people over age 25 have posted something online they regretted.

Wow. People, can you say impulse control? Because if you can say it, you need to start exercising it. If I thought the mere availability of a tool (iPhone) would propel me into some hellish and public form of stream of consciousness, I would lock it away in a bank vault.

It's enough of a risk if you gripe about your boss or coworkers in the hallway, but if you do it on Facebook, then you're really asking for it. Even if you try to "disguise" it, like, "if somebody wants me to work harder, then she should set a better example and not leave early on Fridays," it's still going to come back on you.

But maybe this is just an opportunity for a new Apple app: One that won't activate until you've blown into an attached breathalyzer and tested under the legal limit. Or maybe the iPhone should come with a blood pressure cuff that won't let you do anything until you reach a resting heart rate.

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

50 comments
smithmarie1231
smithmarie1231

Great article about social media! A social media consultant would be a great tool for a company trying to increase their marketing through social media. Check out http://bertmartinez.com a comprehensive workshop that can help you to understand and utilize social media to enhance your business relationships and in result increase your sales and profit!

jdclyde
jdclyde

If you raise an entire generation to think that there is no black and white but only shades of gray, and that there are no judgments, of course they are going to be more likely to say and do stupid things. And you, of tender years Don't know the fears That your elders grew by

kellybriefworld
kellybriefworld

GREAT article! As an IT consultant I am fully aware that IT management is struggling with whether social media is productive or obstructive for companies and their employees. Software is being developed and policy and restrictions are being decided everyday by IT managers. The security of company networks are at stake but the potential for innovation using social media is a large enough carrot for the discussion of how to properly utilize the medium continues. Palo Alto networks came up with a webinar, http://bit.ly/cR80Al, that will explore the issues surrounding social media in the workplace as a follow-up to a very popular whitepaper you may have already read, http://bit.ly/d2NZRp. It is important to not only understand the immediate benefits of doing business how one lives, but the threat it presents to a company's greater ROI and productivity when it comes to the server's safety and security.

Deepali Mayekar
Deepali Mayekar

Social networking sites are still in nappies and work on their initial promotional tactics that is to spread across multiple users. No longer social networking sites are something obscure to seek as all those who have a internet profile have been registered somewhere or the other. A networking site that allows security and privacy will reign in the next decade. It depends on what kind of security apple will be able to provide.. it is like having a body guard with you who stands outside when you pee in a public place...once you are inside a public place you are not really in private space even if you have a bodyguard standing outside.

Wilma Karsdorp
Wilma Karsdorp

The web is unforgiving, and for all to see. And how do others interpret what you have to say. You have no control over that.

eternal_life
eternal_life

think people not will post less 'regrets' on facebook even if any kind of "sanity/common sense" detectors are in use. Reason is that I strongly have the view that people make thier posting/comments is that the personality is lacking the insight about what thier post can/will make and to broadcast false facts people just view as the right to 'gossip'.To gossip and be both rude, cruel, insane, weird and mention people using true names as exists in reality not will limit, it is more likely that this fact to broadcast/gossip about the reality is the fascination that makes the usage of social media so very attractive to young people. They are AWARE about what they are able to do. I don't see anything that will hinder this SHOUTOUT/BROADCAST done by more or less odd as evil, people on social media. As today the net is overcrowded with "blogs" almost everyone thinks that thier own words are worth value, and to be in center of attention just increase the interest for become 'someone'. Ordinary People behave like this as soon there is a possiblity given.

smithsh1138
smithsh1138

Hmmm... I knew a manager who called his boss, angry at some real or imagined wrong that had been done to him. He got VM instead, and proceeded to rant loudly and very profanely. Unfortunately, he accidently broadcast the message to every mailbox in the organization - including the CEO's. I don't know if he felt remorse, but he definately felt the door hit him in the ass on the way out. I don't do Facebook. People know how to find me and anything they want to know I'm happy to tell them. I just can't see how the mundane details of my life, or yours, are thrilling enough to post online. Besides, who has time to maintain that stuff? :-)

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"But maybe this is just an opportunity for a new Apple app: One that won?t activate until you?ve blown into an attached breathalyzer and tested under the legal limit." Well, not 'remorse' apps, but there are apps that can assist with the 'send first, think later' problem. There are apps that can be configured to insert a user-specified delay between pushing 'Send' and the actual transmission. There are others that can hold transmissions to specified recipients during certain hours, say to your ex after 8:00 on Friday. Sorry I can't provide more details. I'm relaying what I've heard on a couple of tech programs, but I have no actual experience with (or need for) these tools.

flhtc
flhtc

The first thing to learn when posting ANYWHERE. Forums, Facebook, etc... Never post ANYTHING you wouldn't put on a poster in your front yard. If you'd regret putting it there, you'll surely regret posting it in cyberspace. Just my 2?

Ron K.
Ron K.

I shouldn't be posting this now. ;)

Jaqui
Jaqui

I ain't capable of remorse. ;)

santeewelding
santeewelding

This sort of thing does not happen on TR. Does it?

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

Smartphone - $100 Monthly service plan - $60 Dissing a friend on Facebook - free Learning that your actions have consequences - priceless.

CTOS
CTOS

It is a fact, that age gives the ability to act/reason, with wisdom. I am not surprised, at the huge increase in regret posts, by younger people. Everyone, one day, will post something they regret. :( Somehow, we as "guiding elders", can pass the caution along to the youth. There are a lot of groups out there now, that are concerned over the children's freedoms to post things that will later bite them! I join them when I can or promote them on my sites, to help the subject get seen more often.

mandai75
mandai75

Moral of the story, think twice before your speak and read twice before you start to use the ' ENTER ' button.

mandai75
mandai75

Moral of the story, think twice before your speak and read twice before you start to use the ' ENTER ' button.

Ggirl123
Ggirl123

It's easier to slip up than you think. Because texting and 'facebooking' via smartphones has become one of the main forms of communication for under 25's, we see posting a comment as normal and as natural as making a comment aloud to a friend. So when we update our status as "(insert name here) wishes someone would just leave her alone", it's just like turning to your friend and bitching "geeez i wish (insert name here) would just leave me alone!"... except you're telling 600 'friends'.

mr_m_sween
mr_m_sween

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Online_disinhibition_effect It seems to me that this "social media remorse" is basically what happens when someone realizes that the imaginary internet shield that protects them from the repercussions of their actions fails. They took actions that were socially unacceptable because they mistakenly thought that the internet was free of the social constraints. Perhaps more frightening, is that these people are like this all the time and put up a face to be acceptable to others? I doubt alcohol is to blame for much of it.

santeewelding
santeewelding

Won't be too long before someone calls your post brash and insensitive.

santeewelding
santeewelding

It's one thing when your close circle calls you an idiot. It's another when hundreds or thousands do. It's, like, confirmation.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

I put up what I want to put up, which wasn't much. I locked my privacy settings down to "just friends", and I drop in once or twice a week and every Sunday morning over coffee. And I check my privacy settings every time FB tells me they've updated the privacy policy or site settings.

jdclyde
jdclyde

I have a friend, it asks him "Are you sure you want to send this?" if it is in the middle of the night.

GSG
GSG

I think your mind is permanently altered. That brings up an interesting thought. If your mind is naturally altered, and you take a mind-altering substance, would you then be normal?

jdclyde
jdclyde

"I didn't know you HAD any feelings!" - Dave :D "Whaddaya mean I'm not kind? Just not YOUR kind!"

Tom-Tech
Tom-Tech

If you guys had my face, you'd find an off-hand comment on Facebook the least of your problems :-p

jdclyde
jdclyde

and don't call me Shirley...

kking
kking

LOL, very funny, and true!

CTOS
CTOS

It truly does sound like one! :) Thanks for the thought...so now we know how to beat that thought, do any MasterCard ads!

gardoglee
gardoglee

Most people (OK, most older peoople) have heard that good judgement comes from bad experiences, which in turn came from bad judgement. We've also heard of Internet Time and the compression of time and distance in the Internet world. Put the two together and you get things like sexting. It used to take a typical person at least a while to totally ruin their own future. Now that can be accomplished in seconds. Giving a cell phone with Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and a multi-megapixle video camera to a typical young person is like giving a loaded revolver to an infant.

jdclyde
jdclyde

never send the first draft if you are upset about something! I write it out then delete it, sometimes two or three times, before the wording gets neutral enough for what I would like to say.

dwdino
dwdino

as to speak every idiocy that arises between the ears? Dark days loom...

Tink!
Tink!

What you said + what Nick said is exactly what is happening. Everyone likes to vent when they are upset the problem is when you do it online, EVERYONE "hears" When people aren't with you and experiencing the situation you are at that moment they don't know where exactly you're coming from. Therefore the post will be taken out of context and whatever meaning pops into the reader's head will be attached to the post. We all know what can happen when things are left up to people's imaginations!

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

The entire on-line world. Based on an informal survey (I asked'em), the vast majority of my sons' friends have never even accessed their Facebook privacy settings. Everything is still set to wide open. That "wishes so-and-so would just leave her alone" post is visible to anybody who cares to look.

kvanpamel
kvanpamel

It's human nature to look back on the past through the perspective of more current, mature and evolved perspectives. We view our photo albums and cringe at the haircuts, blush at the naivety of the words we wrote in each others' yearbooks. I doubt there's anything new being discussed here...unless you count giving new names to very old tendancies. The internet can provide an infinite log of our actions, decisions and behaviors....it does nothing to actually change any of them.

BenRio-23494372901343130353755899045889
BenRio-23494372901343130353755899045889

Well, I had the pleasure/displeasure of bumping into some college days "contributions" I made back in the early 90's...I'm sure that I am speaking for quite a lot of people here (specially the 35+ crowd), right? :-) Cheers

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

no steenkeeen confirmation. I have a magic mirror.

mr_m_sween
mr_m_sween

A teacher years and years ago shared a story. A friend of his grew up with hyperactive disorder. One day he took speed to see what would happen. Interestingly he felt more normal and was able to have a far more relaxed conversation. I imagine it must have been like getting the right power settings on an overclocked processor.

jdclyde
jdclyde

Excess of one or lack of the other can sometimes give a similar result.

Ron K.
Ron K.

...is blowing in the wind. :D Kidding. I believe that the answer could be yes but 'normal' is difficult to define. I gave up trying to define it. I do know that when we go to Walmart I sometimes feel as if my wife and I are the only 'normal' people in the entire store. I am naturally altered. I'm going to call it enhanced. :)

Jaqui
Jaqui

it does maybe it doesn't we have had people post things they regretted, and it was copied and posted or saved before they edited.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

He said, and she heard, but can you imagine? :0 Speaking of imaginations, what about that user name of yours? ;\ ;) :^0

TonytheTiger
TonytheTiger

all my posts in alt.support.divorce are still there from '99 on... Hard to believe it was me :)

GSG
GSG

If you've not seen it yet, well, then check out peopleofwalmart.com. I'm just flabbergasted at what's posted there.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

I thought I'd gotten away with it. :p

Tink!
Tink!

I don't mind leaving that up y'all's imaginations, just don't post what you come up with! :D Somewhere around here (in TR) I'm sure I've posted the story of my name. I may have mentioned it in the phone interview with Sonja too. Stage crew in high school - everyone gets a nickname - I was assigned "Ick" (reason still unknown). Not liking "Ick" I added "Tinker" in front since I was a dabbling Ms. Fix-It. From then on I was called "Tink" for short.

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