A couple of people on Twitter have made me aware of The Star newspaper article "Facebook firing after 'friend' boss ripped". Fewer and fewer of us are surprised nowadays when we hear that someone lost his/her job for making rude (if richly deserved!) comments about his/her boss on some kind of social media thingy like Facebook or Twitter.
But it wasn't the article that got my attention. It was one or two of the comments that other readers offered upon reading it. Somebody said that when he joined some social media system or other he had no idea that so many other people could read what he was writing.
Now, trust me. As the author of some really ill-advised and spleen-filled memoranda of my own in the fairly distant past I would rather not offer this as a sign of that other person's irredeemable stupidity. What it does suggest to me is that, when we presume to counsel people about their use of social media we must be prepared to spend time discussing, in some detail, where the stuff they write might go, and how it might get there.
When we all lived together in little groups in eastern Africa it was a darn sight simpler. You could whisper gossip in a confidant's ear and be sure that no one else would know exactly what you had said. Things are different now.