As James Franco said, “social media is tricky.” It can be, but at the same time it isn’t. When looking into public figures and how they approach their usage of social media, it definitely differs from the everyday user. They have more followers, more engagement, more publicity and more responsibility. Can a public figure have freedom on social media? Surely, but it comes down to what “image” the public figure is trying to create or maintain.
One thing I think is for certain, whatever comes out from a public figure’s “mouth” on social media carries the same weight as if were said on any other medium. Each public figure has a certain “image” he or she has established with the public. People expect certain things from these figures based on who they are. For instance, Bill Gates twitter handle isn’t going to post spring break photos, but Snoop Dogg’s surely would. Each figure can chose whether or not to keep their image in tact on social media.
I think those who step outside of the “norms” that the public expects from them are those that come under the most scrutiny. Now that isn’t said for all of them, I was not shocked at all by Kanye’s rant towards Kimmel. I can’t really blame him there because he was actually representing the image of himself that much of the public is used to. Nevertheless, his choice words could have come in better context, but he said it and has to live with that.
James Franco’s use of social media to seduce a teen woman is definitely out of character though from the eyes of the public. Those types of moments are the ones that can actually damage a figure’s reputation. Never before have public figure’s been able to let their voice be heard so easily. Given the ease that social media provides, means public figures have to consistently monitor themselves. A “regular” individual can have a slip up that doesn’t break national news, but a public figure cannot.
The best way I would manage someone’s usage of social media to speak freely is to simply make sure they are aware that whatever is posted is concrete, there is no erasing it. Each comment can affect that status, character and reputation of the individual. Everything said can be used against them. Therefore the best way to navigate social media is to “think more and post less.” Acknowledge that social media is a massive public forum that allows individuals to speak freely, yet the words that are said can and will be used against you—Social Media’s “Miranda Rights,” anyone?