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Social Media Changes the Rules

Contributor:
David Silversmith
David Silversmith

Need an an alibi to tell the police - try out Facebook.  Need to prove your opponent fouled you, give YouTube a try.  The examples are growing where the Internet and social media are influencing and changing how the world works.

Elizabeth Lambert, a football player for the University of New Mexico in the United States, has been suspended indefinitely for one of the more unsportsmanlike moves you’ll ever see. The video, which has hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube, features Lambert first punching an opponent in the back, and then later, pulling another down by her hair. During the game, Lambert was only issued one yellow card during the game, but was suspended indefinitely after the YouTube publicity.  The suspension only occured because of the YouTube viewership (and because the Americans don't watch much rugby).

The story is similar to the story of Florida’s Brandon Spikes eye gouging an opponent in a recent football game. Again, this was not a big deal during the game itself, but instead it was the reaction to the YouTube clip that led to a harsher punishment.  Bad behavior on the playing field is getting harder to hide with the eyes of YouTube (and the world) upon you.

At the profesional level the Kansas City Chiefs, an American football team, have released Larry Johnson, a former Pro Bowl player. This followed Johnson’s tweets, which included derogatory remarks about his coach and a gay slur directed at a fan.

While these first examples showed Social Media getting folks INTO trouble, in New York City we've now seen Facebook get a kid out of trouble.  Here's a time-line of events:

  • 11:49 a.m. October 17, 19-year-old Rodney Bradford updates Facebook status
  • A minute later, 12 miles away in Brooklyn, two men were mugged at gunpoint
  • The next day Bradford finds out the police are searching for him and he turns himself in
  • Bradford initially charged with robbery in the first degree and sent to prison
  • His defense attorney realized he had an "unbeatable alibiIi" with his Facebook update

So at least in New York, Facebook may now be a legal way to establish an alibi which will certainly set of copycat uses and creative abuses of having somebody else edit your Facebook page while you are out doing something.

What happens in the real world no longer stays in the real world - it goes online where memories can last for a long time!

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