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Guest post by Laura A. Wright

One of the perks of living in a democratic country is that we have the right to free speech, which means that we can say pretty much what we please in any form of media, oral or written. But in reality, freedom of speech is restricted by the letter of the law or how we choose to interpret it. While we all know that making inflammatory or hate-inciting speeches is totally foolish because it could result in legal action being taken against us, we’re generally unaware of the repercussions that anything we write online can have, even if they’re seemingly harmless. The Internet has made life easier and more convenient no doubt, but it is a minefield that is littered with hidden pitfalls that are bound to have adverse consequences if we are not careful about what we do or say online.

You must exercise caution when writing online, to your blog, social network page or website, because:

  • You could get fired: The news is being peppered with items of people who have been fired because they posted something about their jobs on the Facebook or Twitter profiles or because they gave out confidential company information through their blogs and websites. One woman lost her job because she called her job boring while another found herself shown the door when she bad-mouthed her boss, forgetting that he was on her list of Facebook friends and could read her status messages and comments. And yet another was asked to leave because she lied about being ill to take time off work – her charade was discovered when she posted something on her Facebook page, and her employers contended that if she was well enough to access the Internet, she was well enough to come in to work. So watch what you say and control who has access to what you say in order to prevent adverse reactions like losing your job.
  • It could prevent you from getting a job: Most employers Google potential employees to gain an insight into the kind of person they are using bits of information that are generally not available on a resume. They don’t think too well of people who post stories of their drunken binges or other behavior that could be construed as irresponsible and unprofessional. Yes, we all do have dark sides, but not all of us take pride in putting up photos and news of our indiscretions on the Internet. Some people lie on their resumes and they’re often caught out because of random posts they’ve made on the Web, so be careful before you say or write anything that could be traced back to you.
  • You could get sued: If you think you can get away with saying anything about anyone, you’re wrong; bloggers have found themselves being sued by companies and people they have maligned on their sites. And even though you may get off, the hassles associated with legal proceedings are not too pleasant and may drag on for years before you get any closure. So watch what you say so that it does not come back to bite your behind.

Laura A. Wright is a guest author, who contributed this post. Laura writes on the topic of online paralegal degrees. She can be reached at: laura.wright@radiffmail.com

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