A Cautionary Note - Social Networking Sites and User Opinions



Commentary by Senior Airman Ryan Kuntze
128 ARW Public Affairs


11/8/2009 - MILWAUKEE -- Sarcasm is wasted on the internet. 

This is something we must keep in mind when we are using the internet, especially when we are doing so from home and are using sites such as facebook, Twitter and MySpace. 

It is important to bear in mind that anything said on a public or private chat forum, commentary page or threaded chat forum, regardless of the site, can be construed as a direct quote attributed to whoever posted the message. 

Personal opinions should remain as the name implies: personal. 

Once an opinion is stated, either verbally or in writing, it can become a quotable source of information. 

A bad day at work, a moment of emotion, or a passing inclination to blurt a random opinion is a poor excuse to regret what was said. In today's world of high-speed communications, where it is easier to update a facebook status than it is to place a phone call, this is especially true. 

Despite the ease-of-use of social networking sites throughout the internet, we must pause and consider our words just as though we were speaking into a microphone. Once a statement is made, it is extremely difficult to clarify and almost impossible to retract. 

This is doubly important when in relation to military affairs. Voicing an opinion of workplace conditions, military leaders, military operations or personal points-of-view regarding the military is strongly advised against. A chain-of-command exists to voice such concerns or mitigate such problems, and is the most appropriate tool available to today's service member. 

Despite these warnings, it is encouraged that people do make use of social networking sites. These sites are valuable and very useful for maintaining connections with family, friends and the community. 

Caution and common sense can go a long way to ensuring the words of today do not become the regrets of tomorrow.