Don't Be Stupid; Think Before You Post and Speak


This summer was charged with inappropriate social media postings, specifically on Instagram, by Trinity students. Many of you are aware that there was a photo posted by a current junior bidding his friend farewell, who was about to go abroad. The photo was captioned: “Enjoy your 4 month long deportation #aBROAD”. The second Instagram controversy was a comment left on a photo posted by a junior, who decided to write out the entire “n-word”, referring to some of his friends.

First, let’s delve into the photo since it is the lesser of the two evils here.  I can clearly see why some would find this slightly offending, but, in the context that it was used, there is truly nothing wrong with the caption. The word “deportation” is not solely tied and about illegal immigrants who are being sent home, this word like many other words can be used in different contexts. Although I understand that our political climate is charged, we need to be the intellectuals that I know you all are; we need to understand that not everything that is being said aims to offend and target a specific group of people. This post was clearly taken to heart way too easily and it upset people in a very unnecessary way. As a country, we need to learn that some things that are said are not for political reasons and that it is not everyone who wants to hurt and offend people.

Okay, now for the bad one. The second social media comment was completely and utterly inappropriate; clearly, whoever thought this was an okay thing to say either had a complete lapse of judgement, or they were missing an extra brain cell. What you say within the privacy of your room, home or car with your friends is your business, but, what you say on social media should consider the immense power that words and history have.

So now the question is how do we as a community here at Trinity proceed? Like all members of this school, what we say or do not only reflects on us but it reflects on Trinity. Last year when Professor Johnny Williams used his social media to re-tweet/tweet about violence against a specific race – I, like others, were extremely concerned and unsettled. As a result, donors decided not to offer Trinity money. Moreover, several hundreds of thousands of dollars were stripped away from the school, due to postings made by that professor. Professor Johnny Williams was put on leave for several months and then, seemingly, he was allowed to return back to campus with very little follow up provided to students.

Putting that aside, what Professor Williams decided to do on social media had consequences to Trinity College. Although the comment using the “n word” did not put people at potential risk, the College did supposedly investigate Professor Williams’ case.  They should do the same with that comment made on Instagram. There should be some form of follow up done by the College regarding that student.

It doesn’t take much to make the right choice; so please don’t be stupid: think before you speak and before you post on social media. Even if you delete that post, I can bet that things you post on social media don’t disappear, they have a way of following you around no matter what. The last thing you want is to apply for a job or go to an interview and, when they perform a deep web search about you, something like that appears. I can pretty much guarantee no one would want you to work for them, even if it was a post made by mistake.

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