What you say and do on social media can be used against you in a court of law. Don’t believe it? You may soon find yourself wearing an attractive orange jump suit or living out of a suitcase in a residential motel.
Since 2010 social media evidence has been used in more than 700 cases, per Dishon & Block Family Law Attorneys. Facebook alone is cited in more than 20 percent of American divorce cases, according to published reports.
Here are five things you shouldn’t do on social media if you’d like to remain employed, married, or free to walk the earth.
1. Document your visit to a strip joint
IBM Canada employee Natalie Blanchard decided to share a birthday excursion to Chippendales with her Facebook peeps. The problem? She’d been diagnosed with depression and was receiving monthly insurance payments after being deemed unfit for work. The insurance company sued her for fraud, and won. Hey, maybe she was just trying to cheer herself up.
2. Booze it up on MySpace
A 22-year-old Santa Barbara woman was convicted of driving under the influence and sentenced to two years in prison after the passenger in her car was killed in a drunk driving accident. According to the court, Lara Buys might have avoided doing time if prosecutors hadn’t found pictures of her partying on MySpace months after the accident.
3. Swivel your hips in cyberspace
Staten Island resident Dorothy McGurk had been collecting $850 a month in alimony after being disabled in a car accident. Then she went on her blog and posted photos of herself belly dancing. Apparently McGurk is as good with her lips as she is with her hips; after being presented with the pix, she claimed a doctor had prescribed belly dancing as a form of physical therapy. The judge was unmoved, however.
4. Get sexty with someone who isn’t your spouse
Even if your wireless carrier deletes text messages after a few days, they can live for years on your SIM card or in your phone’s onboard memory – and then be subpoenaed by a court. For example, sending a text like ”Hey Sexy I can't come out this week. Something came up family wise” to your Hooters-waitress-mistress – or several of your Hooters-waitress-mistresses – is a one-way ticket to divorce court. If you don’t believe me, just ask Tiger Woods.
5. Tweet your meat
Sending out lewd photos of your Congressional member to random women on Twitter is clearly not a good idea, as former Rep Anthony Weiner can attest. But just opening your trap the wrong way can cost you your job in 140 characters or less – a fate suffered by scores of people over the last six years, including Luis Pagan, a Fort Lauderdale cop who got fired this week for sending offensive tweets to his 84 followers.
Remember, you have the right to remain silent. That goes double on Facebook, Twitter, and all the rest. Use it or lose it.
(A hat tip to Social Times for the inspiration.)
Got a question about social media? TY4NS blogger Dan Tynan may have the answer (and if not, he’ll make something up). Visit his snarky, occasionally NSFW blog eSarcasm or follow him on Twitter: @tynan_on_tech. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-to’s, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.