I found this article interesting:
I’m paranoid about this stuff. I’m careful with what I say, but I’m also prone to brain-farts (which is no secret!). The wrong joke or statement out of context and that’s it. Every one of the ‘infamous’ mistaken Tweets of the past several years deserved to be insulted. A handful of people tweeting the culprit a “You’re an idiot” statement is well-deserved. But if the issue goes viral, it’s no longer a handful of people. It’s suddenly thousands. Hundreds of thousands. And then TV newscasts catch wind. Demands for loss of employment, and the smearing that’s easily found with a simple Google search is there forever (hurting chances of future relationships, employment, etc). Suddenly, just being called an idiot by a couple of people evolves into this life-destroying juggernaut.
Anyway, an interesting perspective on the other side of things. I have over 12,000 followers on Twitter, so saying something wrong (by mistake or otherwise) can go viral in an awful hurry. I do believe you reap what you so – but that’s within reason. You say something blatantly racist or hateful, you deserve hundreds of people shouting you down. You deserve to lose your job. But how terrible and hateful does it have to be to deserve thousands of people shouting you down, and losing a job and being unable to find a new one for a year? And how terrible still does your mistake have to be before millions stalk you and hate you back, and you lose not only your job but prospects of another job (short of flipping burgers) for the next decade? With Twitter, things can reach that point quickly, and Twitter doesn’t see levels of stupidity. It sees two levels – right and wrong. And ‘wrong’ can be blatant and hateful and disgusting, or it can be taken out of context, or said ignorantly. The punishment is the same.