The Negatives of Social Media: I feel for Gerry Sandusky (note the G)

I frequently speak on the issue of employment and social media. And a portion of my talk always addresses the positives and negatives of using social media in hiring and firing decisions. Recently, someone spoke up and said, social media isn’t reliable, how do you know you have the right person? She chuckled when I switched to my slide addressing that very issue.

It is extremely common for someone to get attacked online simply because he or she has a name too similar to someone else. It is very easy to perform research only to find you have been researching the wrong person.

Today, that brings us to the case of Gerry Sandusky. Note it is Gerry with a G, not Jerry with a J.

Gerry Sandusky is a well-respected broadcaster for the Baltimore Ravens. Jerry Sandusky, is, of course, a convicted child abuser.

Gerry has a Twitter account. I have no idea whether Jerry Sandusky has a Twitter account. It would be to hard to tell the fake from the real at this point. Regardless, Gerry has been getting attacked on Twitter for some time now. People say terrible things to him, thinking he is Jerry.

The mob mentality on the Web sometimes causes people to react before they think. Gerry has even put a note on his Twitter account making it clear he is not “that” Jerry. It doesn’t matter.

No matter the reason you use social media, it is important to remember that you must confirm the account you are examining does in fact belong to the person you are researching. Otherwise you could end up causing harm to the wrong person. One of these days I expect a lawsuit as a result of just this very kind of issue.


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