Randall W. Morrison, Attorney

“Social media “is defined as websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking. However, despite its usefulness in a busy and modern society this “social media “phenomenon would in many cases, prove to be “rat poison” to many domestic relationships, marriages and romance. How people communicate with one another and what they share has taken on a whole new approach. When I began my law practice in 1980 “social media” consisted of, corkboard postings in public buildings with notecard and flyer announcements about upcoming political events, yard sales, charitable benefits, and even housing availability notes with tear off phone numbers. All the fun stuff…the local tall tales, gossip, and rumor was usually reserved for the landline telephone, beauty shop, morning coffee gatherings and the handful of monthly community service meetings at the country club or a local restaurant. In your bigger cities, the newspaper offered an avenue for the more daring to connect and share ...well...just about everything you might imagine. Not today. In fact, by the time those tall tales, gossip and rumor hit the beauty shop circuit it’s usually old news. Today, gossip, rumors and everybody’s business…yes...including yours…is posted in a matter of Nano seconds on group texts, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Google. While gossip, rumor and the like are bad enough on relationships, it’s the other aspect of “social media” that is the most troublesome. I call it having a case of the “invisibles”. That is the use of “social media” in ways that users mistakenly believe is for their eyes only and no one else will ever see it. Because of this belief, “social media” is often times used in the most reckless of ways. People tend to forget that whatever they choose to post online is there FOREVER. Erase all you want…go right ahead…knock yourself out erasing. Despite your efforts, all that information can be lawfully obtained through a combination of subpoena and knowhow. Computer or electronic data or meta data, in many cases, is no longer restricted to a single storage device(s) where destruction of the device itself or it’s storage system also destroys the information. Much of our digital footprint is retrievable regardless of attempts to erase, destroy or overwrite the information. Some “social media” users also fail to realize that the love letters and often time descriptive romantic rendezvous that are recklessly posted are consigned to a virtual “foreverland” and therefore lawfully discoverable at some future time. Unthinking users likewise tend to forget that the funny pictures they or friends might post of them smoking a joint, acting a fool or being “down for the count” while drugged out or intoxicated might find its way as evidence in a divorce or custody dispute. And please, don’t get me started on the lewd pictures of themselves people actually send to one another on “social media”. While I can accurately “parallax” the distance between earth and nearby stars and even to some degree, explain the nature and characteristics of space and time, I will never be able to tell you why people chose to send pictures of their private parts to one another. It’s just not something one should do, regardless. But that’s me. The things I have seen I can’t tell you about. Its not that I don’t want to…it’s just that I can’t. You wouldn’t believe it anyway.

So, if you choose to use poor judgement in the realm of “social media” in the ways and means discussed above, do so at your own risk. Remember, its FOREVER, and your posting may win the award for “best picture” in a divorce case or custody case.