Social media is a powerful medium. It allows us to connect with people we haven’t seen in ages, like high school classmates. It allows us to stay in touch with loved ones, like grandparents in Florida or children studying abroad. It allows us to discover new people, products, amusements, music, and much more.
Social media is often seen as a pleasant distraction. Unfortunately, it does have the very real potential to have a negative impact on your life. This potential is especially true if you are currently in the midst of a personal injury suit. The following are some things to keep in mind about your social media profiles and usage while you’re going through a personal injury case.
Put up a privacy fence. By default, social media profiles typically aren’t as private as most people think. Take a look at your settings, and lock your profile down as much as possible. Even if you initially tightened your privacy settings when you created your profile, go back and take another look at them. Think of it as a security audit. Can burglars (individuals looking to steal information) get through?
Don’t talk to strangers. If someone you don’t know attempts to “friend” you, don’t just blindly accept his or her invitation. Ask who he or she is and how he or she knows you. If you just can’t place them, deny the invitation.
Everything is suspect. Evaluate everything you post or share on social media networks critically. Whether it is a status update, a photo, or a video, give it a second or even third look before clicking that “submit” button. The other side’s attorney can easily twist around things you found completely innocuous. For example, pictures of you at a party could be trouble. In the photos, you’re standing up, arms around your buddies, and grinning ear to ear. Maybe you stood up for those photos but spent the rest of the night sitting down. And of course you smiled: it’s a photo, after all. You might think that the photo doesn’t mean anything. It doesn’t mean that your back wasn’t killing you during the party. However, an attorney might argue that that’s exactly what the photo shows.
Mum’s the word. Don’t discuss court proceedings or legal hearings on Facebook or other social media platforms. Delete any status update or tweet that begins with “my attorney says.” You don’t want to be portrayed as having waived attorney-client privilege.
If social media is not a must-have for you or if these tips seem like they might be hard to master, consider a total blackout. That’s right: put your social media updates on hold and take a break for a while.
If you have any doubts or questions about things you shouldn’t say or post on a social media profile, always talk with your personal injury attorney.