Social media is a blessing and a curse

July 6, 2020

Wendy Parker

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Many in the trucking world can hardly resist learning more about “Winning with Social Media.”

Sounds like a guide to being a social media presence and influencer, doesn’t it? One of them there “trucker famous” YouTube personalities with a gabillion Instagram followers and a monetized feed. Winning on social media by describing in minute detail every single aspect of every day trucking life for those who feel the need to know.

I’m not hating. I’ve written about life on the road extensively for many years. I have self-published two very silly books about it, because if you can’t laugh at some of the extraordinarily weird things that happen on the road you will surely mope yourself to death.

Laughing, learning and having a feeling of camaraderie with people who have actually been in trucks is a beautiful thing that social media allows us to share.

OOIDA benefits from the use of social media with instant information and calls to action for drivers. Any grassroots organization worth its salt is taking full advantage of free and immediate contact with their target audience. Love it or hate it, social media and the use of it in our everyday lives is here to stay.

But what happens when we flip the pancake? Turns out there’s an ugly side to this beautiful tool when it’s used without taking the time to think a little about the “instant” communication available on these platforms.

Besides the general trolling and basic jerks who can’t say anything nice so they say a lot on social media, there are eyes on the very same feeds a lot of commenters aren’t considering.

I used “Winning with Social Media” as a lead-in, but the true object of this post is a book I found on the internet titled, “Winning with Social Media – A Desktop Guide for Lawyers Using Social Media in Litigation and Trial.”

I’m sure most of you can see the tie-in here, but I’m probably only to get one shot at this before the trolls come for me with hay forks, so I’m going to be clear. Nothing you post on the internet ever goes away. Just remember that.

Do not, under any circumstances, make a post to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter (or any other social media platform available that I am unaware of) about harming, running over, making a speedbump of, or otherwise having the desire to fold, spindle or mutilate someone who is in the highway – regardless of the reason they are there.

I cannot stress this enough for professional drivers, and I would strongly suggest it for anyone who drives a vehicle of any kind, commercial or otherwise.

Besides the fact that it only incites more people to express the same feelings, there are a multitude of repercussions to be considered.

Just a few come readily to mind each and every time I see a comment about how a Facebook Rambo is going to “mow over anything standing in the highway.”

Driver, heaven forbid you happen to hit an emergency worker or private citizen changing a tire three years from now. Because the family’s attorney or the state prosecutor, or both, will blast your “mow it over” comment so loud the jury won’t be able to hear much else and context won’t be considered at all.

Y’all remember that proposed minimum insurance hike to a cool $2 mil? You think the lobbyists for that abhorrence don’t troll social media for references as to why insurance should be hiked? We’ve all seen the videos of the guys who drive with their feet. Yeah. Makes a point, doesn’t it?

And last but not least, while folks are grousing about why commercial drivers can’t have a concealed carry reciprocity from state to state you might consider not posting on Twitter that you will “shoot anything in sight” of your truck. In case it needs to be reiterated – this is not helping the cause.

Use social media for the powers of good. It may or may not have been designed for that in particular, but it doesn’t matter anymore. This is a brave new world. People are watching and a lot of them have the ability to either arrest you or sue you. Don’t make it easy for them.

 

Wendy Parker

Wendy Parker has covered the trucking industry since 2012 after she says she “lost my mind and decided to climb inside my husband’s big truck to travel with him as an over-the road, long-haul trucker.” Her unique writing style that ranges from biting satire to investigative journalism coupled with her unbridled passion for fighting round out a wildly talented stable of writers.