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.

Click to Enlarge Image

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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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Charly June 9, 2012 at 3:27 pm

It would seem the ‘celebs’ are now the Paparazzi too (stalking and reporting rumour and innuendo)! I agree with you that it’s always been a case of ‘she said, he said’… and no one will ever really know the truth of it, except for the two parties.

Social media provides those who want it, with a wider audience, in which to share their stories and gain notoriety and, whilst people follow and interact on posts / tweets that many deem inappropriate – the behaviour will continue.

I feel there has to be a line drawn – but in a social environment that line can (or perhaps SHOULD) be drawn by the audience, as much as the presenter. As a member of the audience, I try not to reward inappropriate behaviour by commenting on certain threads. If someone continues to post inappropriate content, I will (and have) unfriend / unfollow them.

For myself – I try to work on the principle of “Would I want my Mum or Grandma (or even Kids) to know that I said / did this thing?” and if I am filled with shame about them knowing, then the answer is no and I won’t do it. However, that has it’s pit falls too – we shouldn’t live our lives to make others happy and maybe, just maybe, what we say has to be said. There’s no easy answer.

Would love to hear what others have to say on the matter….

Wendy Chamberlain June 9, 2012 at 5:23 pm

Hi Charly,

Who’d have thought that celebs would became that which they generally despise – the Paparazzi!

I agree. The people now have a voice and a very public platform on which to share their thoughts. Perhaps a little moderation or more common sense could be applied to what some share before they hit “submit”.


Amanda June 11, 2012 at 4:26 am

I agree with you wholeheartedly! I think this was a really sleazy thing of Ms Stetten to do and it backfired on her. She has pulled other stunts before to try to get her name in the news as being a funny girl but it’s just come across as someone that is really desperate for her 15 minutes of fame.

She deleted the wedding ring tweet probably because it wasn’t true. Then after the guy falls asleep she starts taking pictures of him? If a guy took photos of me on a plane I’d raise the “creeper” flag, so why does she get a pass? I’m not a fan of our double standards……

and she just crossed the line into “total jerk” by pulling this. It doesn’t make her funny, or snarky, or edgy.. just makes her look trashy.

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