By early May, 2013, Facebook had over 1.11 billion users and Twitter had over 550 million users. Social media is fast becoming the preferred method of communication among the masses, probably because of the enticing ability to post on-the-go. But do you stop and think before you post? The man who posted pictures of his second wedding when he was still married to his first wife probably did not.  A post may seem innocuous to you today, but tomorrow’s a different story.  

At some point you may have regretted posting a comment or photograph, and tried deleting it and/or even your complete profile. However, deleting accounts does not, necessarily, get rid of the posts. And, it could lead to hefty penalties for spoliation of the evidence.  As recently reported on, a Virginia court fined a widower and his attorney a combined $722,000 for trying to delete a Facebook account which included photographs that were less than helpful to their case.

Social media may be a great way to increase your reach, solicit participation from members, provide quick up-to-date reminders, and promote other community-building efforts. But realize that what you post online, most likely stays online.  What makes social media different from other types of online communications, such as static websites or e-newsletters, is that your posts have the ability to be re-tweeted, shared, linked to, forwarded, and ultimately catapulted into the cyber-world well beyond your initial intended recipient. And, as noted in the Virginia case, trying to delete the evidence may only get you into further trouble.

Whether you’re a board member, committee member, community manager, etc., be mindful of what you post.  And, be sure to adopt and follow a social media policy that includes tips to help minimize potential liability.

Melissa M. Garcia
One response to “Social Media Postings-Here Today, Gone Never
  1. As a community manager, I have never posted anything to “social media.” Anything pertinent to the HOA or homeowners goes onto the website. If people need to be contacted, I send mass e-mails. I know this takes a little-more time, but is worth it, because of the above. Besides, does everyone who lives on the planet now or may do so in the future need to know this business? As noted, once something is posted “to the Internet,” it’s “out there” FOREVER, for anyone to use as he or she sees fit. Many things are emotional, and should not be sent or posted immediately. In these cases, it’s best to wait and mull things over before sending them off to the cloud forever, or even put into an e-mail. Things may be construed as offensive, even though that was not the original intent, and allowing some time for consideration and review is often wise. People have a habit today of blurting out whatever comes to mind, without regard for another’s feelings, and this is especially true with texts, e-mails, and social-media postings. These electronic communications fuel people’s passive-aggression, because they allow things to be “said” without the having to see the recipient’s reaction. When we say something with our mouths, we usually have the opportunity to gauge the recipient’s reaction, or that person can ask for clarification. When such a message arrives electronically, the recipient may be upset, not respond, and be left offended. A lot of people are very inappropriate in what they send, because they just blurt something out that, in the spirit of the moment, may seem cute, but later, when taken to task, they end up having to backtrack, apologize or even make up some lame excuse like “Oh, my account was hacked.” Like “Yeah, there are millions of people out there just waiting to hack your own Twitter account.” But, no matter our precautions, social and electronic media are creating a world of passive-aggressive, thoughtless people.
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