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Is Social Media Evil? The dark side of the digital age

by Wendy Chamberlain on June 8, 2012

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As yet another social media storms erupts, laying bare the lives of the famous (and wanna be…), where do we draw the line?

The latest happened on a plane.  The story is ages old.

Boy meets girl.

Boy likes girl.

Boy strikes up a conversation and tries to impress girl.

I’m sure many reading this can relate to being stuck on a plane, with many hours still to pass until you land, and you are the lucky one that gets to sit next to Mr Personality, Ms Chatterbox, the boring dude… we’ve all been there.

Now, ten years ago, you would have stuck your nose in a book or firmly wedged your headphones over your ears and turned up the volume.  LOUD.

In 2012, we Tweet.

In the USA, you guys have the luxury of an internet connection 30,000 feet in the air.

That’s not something we here in Australia enjoy – yet.

Some would probably argue that is good thing… :)

In the above scenario, the passenger tweeting her woes is model Melissa Stetten.  To her 13,000 followers!

The hapless guy she was allegedly sitting next to was married Actor Brian Presley (who has two children with wife of ten years, Erin Hershey Presley).

Melissa Stetten live-tweeted the alleged conversation on a red eye flight out of Los Angeles and continued to do so, even after a follower identified the man she was sitting next to as Brian Presley.

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Exactly where do we draw the line?

I think the important point to remember in all of this is we are now a very mobile, very social society.

What you do can AND DOES appear online.

Often times, it can be a very one sided tale that is told.

Interestingly, Melissa Stetten’s Twitter following has almost doubled in the days since she tweeted in-flight.  She currently has 23,369 followers (and growing, fast).

Brian Presley also has a Twitter account.  All 416 followers worth…

He does have a Facebook fan page (1663 fans at time of writing) and recently posted his side of the story.

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From the Twitter posts (very one sided, as is the nature of Twitter), it looks like a girl got on a flight to New York and had to put up with a jerk sitting next to her trying to pick her up.

From the Facebook post, a guy had a friendly 10 minute chat, ate, then went to sleep.

There are various articles out there right now sharing opinons on the story.

The early ones included screen captures of a tweet about a wedding ring, alleging the guy removed it.  It seems, however, that particular tweet has since been deleted from Melissa Stetten’s Twitter feed.

A case of “he said” “she said”?

In the end, it doesn’t matter.  The damage has been done.

We have become a society where our every move can be posted, tweeted, shared and pinned.

Do we have any recourse? Do you really know who is watching?

Security on social media sites has always been a hot topic.

It’s one of the reasons I do not have “check in” enabled on Facebook.  Sure, I can check myself into places, but who else is checking you in?  Do you know?

It’s easier to just not do it.

And easier to keep your mouth shut on a plane, it would seem.


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By Wendy Chamberlain
Copyright 2012 Savvy Web Women Pty Ltd


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Wendy Chamberlain is the founder of and creator of the Savvy Online Engagement Blog – the information packed resource that shows business owners and entrepreneurs how to use online strategies to connect with key stakeholders, influence decision makers and be seen as a thought leader, all via the use of social media. To receive your FREE Special Report and weekly how-to articles to expand your online List Building toolkit, visit

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