What is it with people these days doing stupid things then posting them on social media sites? Do we ever learn? Mashable posted an article about this yesterday:

The genius in that picture is an unnamed employee from Taco Bell. The reason why this is stupid is rather self-explanatory.

I don’t understand it. This happens way more often than it should and there is zero reason for that. Social media is a great tool and resource…but it makes everything dumb so much more visible. And that’s a real shame.

My problem with this is that a lesson we all have been at least told, not necessarily one we’ve learned, is that we will all make mistakes, and sometimes we should take a step back and make sure we are making a good decision before doing something. In this situation there is literally nothing that screams “This is a great idea and will provide me with some sort of benefit.” So why do it?

What was he thinking?

“Guys, GUYS! This is going to be hilarious. I’m going to take a picture of me licking this stack of tacos. It’s going to be LEGENDARY.”

That’s one. The other could be that this was just a fun “prank” with some friends of his that he never expected to get posted anywhere. I’ve been there. But really, what do you expect to happen? Of course it’s going to be seen, and of course once it’s seen it will become an issue. Things like this are one of the few hot buttons in social media that almost always seem to get found and spread around like wildfire. It’s simple, you’ve heard the other stories, so don’t make this mistake yourself.

What’s Taco Bell thinking?

They really only have one course of action. Even if these shells were never going to be served to customers, and no harm would have come to anyone, Taco Bell has to fire this employee. Or at least say that they did. This is something that tarnishes their brand (because it’s so high-class as is, right?) and they have to put out the fires in whatever way works best.

Lessons need to be learned

Taco Bell has only one course of action. This employee had many, at first. He chose the wrong one. The bragging rights of being “oh so funny” by doing something gross (would you brag about this?) are certainly not worth your job. This employee will have a good time telling potential employers about his exploits here some point down the road…hopefully he’ll have learned his lesson.

Social media is a delicate space. It isn’t a place where you can just post anything. There are things you shouldn’t post, and things you just shouldn’t do. This is one of them. We all see people make mistakes. There’s usually an honest mistake behind what happens (accidentally posting from a business Twitter account instead of a personal one, for example) and that happens. But sometimes it isn’t an honest mistake, just a dumb one with little thought behind it.

This social silliness needs to stop. We’ve all grown up learning that we’ll deal with the consequences of our actions, yet some of us still decide to test that. What will it take to teach that lesson successfully?