An interesting thing happened to me this weekend. I got a tattoo at a local parlor. While the artist was tattooing me another staff member was taking photos of his work. These photos were then posted on the parlor’s Facebook page and I was tagged in them. I did not know that these photos were on Facebook or that I was tagged in them until I received a text message from a friend in mocked anger stating she was outraged that she learned of my new tattoo via Facebook. Her outrage was in jest, but I was startled to find out that the world of Facebook knew about my tattoo.
Now to be completely clear, I am not upset that these photos were posted, but I wasn’t exactly prepared for the response. I keep a pretty neutral online profile due to the large variety of people I am friends with, which include extended family and elementary school teachers so there was a certain level of shock from some of my more active friends. During my younger days I would have reveled in the shock value because shocking people was the most amusing thing to me, but now that I’m older I don’t play that game as much as anymore. But I shocked people nonetheless.
The reason I am writing a blog about this experience is it shows the effect of social media has on public knowledge. What was meant to be an innocent posting regarding the incredible artwork the artist was doing turn into a very mild scandal for me. I felt the need to put out a statement to make a stance on my decision while answering questions regarding the meaning to my tattoo. While my situation is nothing compared to actual scandals that come about by comments made in the social media, it was a great reminder of how quickly the use of social media can take a private event and turn it into public knowledge open to comments and opinions from people have no business even having an opinion. These forced intrusions required a blanket response from the person, or company being talked about when such a scandal happens via social media. Public Relations is in everything we do, even in the maintenance of your own personal online profile.