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.


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.

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