We're all guilty of sometimes overutilizing social media. We use it to complain about friends, family, coworkers, jobs, and the many questionable characters on public transportation. We solicit advice, whine about Anne Hathaway, and share our dreams and desires. Facebook feeds can sometimes read like a damn Taylor Swift song for all the emotional ups and downs.
Since we're always sharing, we're bound to eventually say something slightly controversial, or make an offhand remark that offends someone else. It happens. Why, just the other day, I ranted about the anxiety involved in finding a good squee, and I might've used the words "motherfucking" right before the words "adorable puppy." This did not sit well with some Twitter followers, and so they unfollowed me. That's OK, and it's the social media price I pay by having a public feed. Lucky for me, my Twitter missives have landed me into deeper trouble no more than email exchanges with sexist idiots.
Someone who's not so lucky? A pediatric nurse in Spokane, WA, who posted to Facebook:
Did my first circumcision on Friday..
watch out boys...here I come
Seems like something relatively harmless to post to a Facebook wall that's only supposed to be seen by family and friends. The problem? Her page was set to public. Ruh roh. Anti-circumcision activists in the Facebook group "Cutting Culture" were not pleased. Okay, they're pissed. Comments range from "pervert ...so sick," to "how does she live with herself!?" It's harsh in there.
There's two sides here. One, is that the nurse is sharing a work detail that was probably best suited for her friends. Unfortunately, since her Facebook page was set to public, anyone could grab a screenshot. And screenshots are forever. Since her place of employment was simple enough to ascertain, the comment can easily get back to her bosses. It has all the makings of that shitshow last month when the OB-GYN complained about a patient on Facebook.
In these volatile (and viral) times, this is yet another cautionary tale about your social media settings. You have to be careful, especially if you're posting a joke about something as controversial as chopping off foreskin. It's not hard to see how this comment would offend; it's a sensitive topic and needs to be treated as such by people in the medical community.
Professionally, that is.
When this nurse is out of the office, it's reasonable to expect that she might share things — and yes, even joke — about her life and job. We all do it. She didn't name names, nor did she give out any identifying information. A flippant comment like hers is often a way to let off steam; many of us crack wise about the more bizarre aspects of our work.
The person I know with the most morbid, fucked-up sense of humor is an ER burn care nurse. She deals with the absolute saddest, most horrific situations every day, and after one round of drinks with her and her co-workers, shit gets brutal. Shock comics have nothing on these fools. When you confront awful, difficult things daily, joking about them can be a vital release. It's not hurting anyone, and it's obviously fulfilling something for those who bear witness to trauma. That doesn't mean she isn't one of the most compassionate, caring people I know. She is — she's also human.
This pediatric nurse has the right to share and vent about work, but if she's going say things that are potentially enraging, she really needs learn Facebook's privacy settings. It can be difficult; even the co-founder's supposedly internet-literate sister has a tough time with it. Maybe she screwed up a little, but she doesn't deserve to be fired as some on these anti-circumcision boards are calling for. She's already been reprimanded by the internet tribunal, and the post has since been made private or removed. May this be a lesson to us all — your real world privacy is only as strong as your social media settings.