We live in a social media-driven world. It has its tentacles wrapped around almost every part of our life. Our news media relies on it for content. We interact with family members, friends and coworkers over it. It invades our pants, purses and backpacks through our phones and computers. With immediate access through our smartphones that allow us to blast thoughts out to large numbers of people in seconds, it’s too easy to spew a bad idea or inappropriate comment in a way you can’t take back. Social media is forever. Even if you delete your tweet/facebook post/tumblr blog/pin/+1/photos or whatever your social media of choice is, you can’t stop people with access from printing hard copies. The social media company also stores copies where it can be unearthed in litigation or by a warrant.
Social media in Texas litigation
Social media content has extensive use in lawsuits. It can impeach or disprove what a witness or party says in testimony. It can disprove employers discriminated against employees. Also, it can be the basis for firing employees. I have seen cases where employees defamed their employers or coworkers and then fired and sued by the employer. It can disprove injuries in personal injury cases. It is used for all sorts of purposes in divorce and child custody proceedings. You put a lot at risk every time you make one of those permanent social media updates. A legitimate claim for relief from another party, whether it is an employment suit or a personal injury suit could disappear over a five second tweet sent from your phone. You could lose your kids over it.
It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use social media or there is anything wrong with sharing parts of your life through social media but you should be careful about what you post and how you say it. Even though you think you are sharing some of that content with a close, private group of people, remember you are always sharing it with the company that owns the social media platform and they are not a part of your private group of friends and family. Keep in mind that realistically you will not remember what you meant to say with every tweet or status update. What you wrote is what you wrote for better or worse. Make it for better.
Fort Worth and Dallas employment lawyers
If you believe you have a claim for legal relief, you have a legal family issue, or you are in the midst of a lawsuit, discuss with your employment lawyer what content is appropriate and inappropriate for social media while you are working through your legal matters. Social media has become an important part of investigating claims. Employment lawyers often focus on the social media content of a plaintiff, which often gives a timeline of the plaintiff’s activity along with statements of opinions, mental and physical condition. This easily may dispute an employee’s claim or act as impeachment evidence. Employment lawyers for employers want as much social media content as possible to look for any small reason to attack a plaintiff. Lawyers in most fields of litigation feel the same way about social media. Be careful about what you continue to post once you believe you have a difficult workplace situation and talk to your employment attorney about continued posting.