A cautionary tale about social media

Alpena school board Trustee Steven Donajkowski provided the students in his school district a valuable lesson last week when he was publicly criticized for Facebook posts some saw as racist.

The Alpena Public Schools Board of Education has introduced a resolution committing the board to eliminating racism in the district after Donajkowski was criticized by a resident for Facebook memes that included profanities targeting persons of color and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Donajkowski said he is not a racist and said fellow trustees overreacted to his posts, according to a Saturday story by News staff writers Steve Schulwitz and Crystal Nelson.

Regardless of how you feel about Donajkowski’s posts or the Black Lives Matter movement, there are lessons to learn from the saga, the biggest of which is this:

We are all answerable for what we say online.

Donajkowski told The News he kept his Facebook public to maintain transparency, but there’s really no such thing as a “private” social media post. Even posts visible only to our friends can be copied and pasted and shared more broadly on public networks. Even deleted posts can find their way around the Web.

We shouldn’t be afraid to say what we believe, but, no matter what our privacy settings, we should never put anything on social media we’re not willing to yell in a crowded theater and defend against critics.

Donajkowski will have to do so when he faces voters in November.



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