By Jon Keller, WBZ Political AnalystBy Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) — The sorry story of the big-time public relations executive who lost her job over the weekend after posting an offensive tweet is a cautionary tale that suggests a possible New Year’s resolution for all of us.

Listen to Jon’s commentary

More on that in a moment, but if you missed it, the head of corporate communications for a major media company that runs a number of websites inexplicably decided to post a tweet as she boarded a flight to South Africa about AIDS that is so profoundly ignorant, racist and obnoxious I don’t even want to repeat it. Click here if you want to see it.

Anyway, the perpetrator is an adult, has experience in dealing with the power of public speech, and by any reasonable measure should have known better. Perhaps alcohol was a factor, but that’s not getting her off the hook. She’s been fired, and good luck getting a new job.

Amid the fallout from this incident, there’s been some hand-wringing about the power of the social media “mob” to destroy someone like this who makes a stupid blunder.

But while that may be a worthwhile topic to consider, the fact is, this is the world we live in, and it’s incumbent on each of us to learn how to navigate it.

The truth is, many of us may have thoughts that, if expressed or acted upon, would be problematic.

From the cute co-worker who catches your eye to the reckless driver you’d like to throttle, it’s one thing to think about doing or saying something, but another thing entirely to go ahead and do it. Self-editing isn’t just a necessary life skill; it’s the fundamental underpinning of civil society.

But the internet apparently attracts – and destroys – those without proper self-editing skills.

So here’s my suggestion for that constructive New Year’s resolution – shut up, and don’t hit send.

Trust me, this is one resolution you’ll be glad you kept.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.


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