post by Stephanie Nelson

A few weeks ago, I saw a story about how someone had gotten an attitude on social media with the wrong person, only to learn the consequences were dire. Here’s the cautionary tale:

A young lady whose Twitter handle was @NaomiH_Official was awarded an internship at NASA. In her excitement, she tweeted, “EVERYONE SHUT THE F**K UP. I GOT ACCEPTED FOR A NASA INTERNSHIP” (To be clear, though, she spelled out the F word.)

Homer Hickam replied simply, “Language.” (For those who don’t know – like I didn’t – Homer Hickam is an author and former NASA engineer who helped train the first Japanese astronauts.)

NaomiH’s response? “Suck my d*ck and balls I’m working at NASA”

To which Hickam replied, “And I am on the National Space Council that oversees NASA.”

In a later blog post, Hickam clarified that his original response was intended to let NaomiH know that the powers that be at NASA probably wouldn’t appreciate the use of the F-bomb in her social media posts that are viewable by the public. But the damage had already been done. NASA revoked her internship. And it was the use of the NASA hashtag by her friends, not Hickam or his response, that had brought their attention to her tweets.

In looking to see if there were any updates to the story, there’s now a new @NaomiH_official Twitter handle, and a tweet went out saying she may get her internship back. However, there seems to be some debate on whether this account is real or fake. So we may never know where NaomiH actually ended up.

So what can we all learn here?

  • Know your audience and who you’re interacting with.
  • Even when emotions are high, consider your words carefully.
  • Employers DO look at your social media posts.
  • Your friends may be the ones who rat you out, intentional or not.

Anything else you take from this?

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