Social media can be a very useful tool. It can be a great way to spread breaking news. Studies show that social media can help improve life satisfaction and overall well-being. It can help facilitate political change, promote good deeds throughout a community, disarm social stigmas, and help law enforcement catch and prosecute criminals.
For some people, that last part is a huge problem.
The beginning of this story starts in 2012. Young Colleen Cudney was convicted for drunk driving. As happens so often in these situations, the judge determined that Colleen should be placed on probation. This probation would require random Breathalyzer tests as part of her probation would be to remain sober.
Flash forward to present(ish) day. The day of St. Patrick had passed. For those unfamiliar with St. Patrick’s day, the general theme of the day seems to be drinking. You are supposed to drink and drink and drink, then vomit, then return to drinking. This is due to the final words that St. Patrick managed to get out on his deathbed, using the last of his strength to somehow utter, “Please, make everyone have 25-30 drinks in my memory.”
No doubt because of this tradition, Colleen was called to her probation office for a Breathalyzer test. She got up and made the trip to Westland, Michigan. After breathing into the machine, it was determined that Colleen had passed! Celebrations abounded. The city of Westland nearly shut down as crowds erupted into the street, singing and dancing in merriment.
Colleen decided to celebrate in her own way, though. As a member of the millennial generation, she decided to mark the occasion with a Facebook post letting everyone know the results of her test:
“Buzz killer for me, I had to breatalyze this morning and I drank yesterday but I passed thank god lol my dumba**.”
Aside from Colleen’s inability to spell breathalyze and confusing decision to say “buzz killer” not “buzz kill,” there was one major problem with this. As you might recall from the list of things social media can do, one of the items is helping law enforcement catch and prosecute criminals.
After noticing this on Facebook, a Westland police officer decided to give Colleen’s probation officer a head’s up. I imagine the phone call went like this:
“Yeah, hi. This is Officer Johnson. Are you the probation officer for Colleen Cudney?”
“Why, yes Officer Johnson. I certainly am.”
“Oh, good. You are not going to believe this.”
The probation officer gave Colleen a call as is customary in this situation, letting her know that she would be required to come in for a urine test. That phone call went like this:
“Yes, Colleen Cudney? This is your probation officer. We are going to need you to come in for a urine test.”
-Sound of Colleen hanging up the phone-
As it turns out, hanging up the phone on your probation officer after you admit to breaking the rules of your probation on Facebook for the entire world to see is a probation violation. She will go to court soon to find her fate.
I think we all have learned a very important lesson about social media today. It can be tempting to share every moment of your life on Facebook or other similar sites, but it can lead to some trouble.
Remember kids: Social media – good, implicating yourself because you have no social media filter – bad.