No sooner is the ink dry on my latest thoughts on why kids should be wary about using social media, than Ms. Brown steps in to provide a searing (and timely) example of what can go badly wrong when young people have the new internet world at their fingertips.
For those of you who missed the news, Paris Brown was appointed as Kent Police's Yoof Police & Crime Commissioner and was about to step into a £15,000 / year job to bridge the gap between teenagers and the police in her community.
She was chosen, apparently, because she was a typical teenager.
The bad news for the Kent Police was that she was a typical teenager with a Twitter account who used it (lots) before she took on her new job - with some pretty unsavoury views aired to the world in previous years.
Now the interesting point is this - she hoped the world would understand these posts as ‘youthful boasts' and exaggerations - but the world did not. She has apologised and stepped down from the job.
We've all been there as teenagers - half-formed ideas linked with a tendency to blurt things out before thinking - but I'm jolly glad that I didn’t have a public publishing platform like Twitter or Facebook to provide an indellible record of all my past mistakes.
This sad story highlights that our online personas are a blend of personal and professional, even if we think we’re keeping the two separate. Keeping a professional and impressive LinkedIn profile, for example, can still be undone by a foul-mouthed tirade or two on Twitter.
That’s a lesson for us all, not just teenagers.