I must tell you I thought long and hard about writing this post. I’ve actually wanted to do it for couple of days but frankly have been too exhausted by the back and forth. I ultimately decided to write it because I think there are some big lessons to be learned.
I preface this by saying Cheryl Rios is a friend of mine; I worked with her when I was a reporter/anchor in Dallas. I know her to be a solid citizen with a good heart. I knew nothing of her politics but that doesn’t really matter since I have friends with beliefs across the spectrum.
The other day I went to Cheryl’s Facebook page and saw this post:
I remember reading this with my hand over my mouth. Immediately I started thinking about her business; Cheryl is a PR and marketing professional.. surely she knew what would happen, no?
I commented on her post and then asked her if I could share it. She agreed, reminding me that not everyone was going to see the what she did and that was okay.
So I took a screen shot and posted it on my Facebook page.
From there is was shared 55 times. From those 55 times it was shared another unknown number of times. Pretty soon, a local Dallas reporter called Cheryl because he wanted to do a story; after all here was a woman business owner saying women could do anything but run the country. Her post coming the day after Hillary Clinton’s announcement further added to the newsworthiness.
Cheryl did the interview and did not back down from her convictions and beliefs.
It was only a matter of time before the interview went viral and the vitriol was fierce even catching the PR professional off guard (Justine Sacco anyone?).
The emails that streamed into her business were unthinkingly awful calling Rios all sorts of names, some even carrying vague death threats (you can read the comments here). They are totally and completely uncalled for.
In an effort to protect herself, she shut down her business Facebook page and Google +; she even changed the settings on her personal Facebook page.
But there are still some very big lessons to be learned about social media and privacy.
1. Nothing Online Is Private!
The very first issue is Cheryl's assumption that her personal Facebook page would only be seen by her friends and family who understood her position and beliefs. But then she agreed to let me share on my Facebook page with a much wider audience who doesn't know her and (judging by comments on her FB page over the last 72 hours) tends to be more liberal. To them, her argument of hormones, being born female all supported by the bible, made no sense and opened her up to ridicule and derision. But even if she had NOT agreed to allow me to share her post still could have gotten out there via the share button. And even after you change the settings, anyone with a screen can take a frame grab and repost. You simply cannot think that anything you put on FB, even on your personal page, is private.