5 Ways Social Media Can Blow Your Case
Using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and SnapChat can be great ways to stay in contact with friends and families, and to connect with new communities of like-minded folks. It can also be a nightmare for your attorney if you do not use discretion. Here are 5 ways social media can hurt your case.
Having FriendsHaving "friends" on Facebook is a great thing. It can also reflect upon you and how you live your life. If someone were to look through your "friends", what would they see? If you are in a custody battle, hopefully the image of your first friend listed isn't wearing a green cross on their t-shirt! I am not suggesting that you unfriend everyone, but you might want to look through and see what your "community" is saying about you.
Making Plans PublicSocial Media is used to update people. Maybe you just saw a great movie or had a nice dinner out and want to recommend a restaurant. It's a great way to stay in touch, but use discretion. Attorneys prefer to represent Angels! Don't spend all of your time when you are not the custodial parent globe-trotting and partying for the world to see.
Likewise... if you cancelled a visitation or missed a Court appearance then you had better not show up at an event on Facebook or be posting party pictures on Instagram.
GossipingDuring settlement negotiations, your Attorney and your ex's Attorney will spend a good amount of time sitting in Judge's chambers vying for ground in the settlement terms. On more than one occasion, an Attorney has been blindsided by the accusation that their client was badmouthing the Judge on Facebook or Twitter. That can make even the most levelheaded, disinterested and professional Judge irritated.
Keep gossiping private as it relates to the Court, players, or your opponent in the case. Or perhaps don't do it at all!
VentingDon't play the victim on social media. That causes numerous problems. First of all, it can lead to a response which triggers our #1 misuse of social media. You may trigger your ex to rise up and defend himself or herself, resulting in a battle of the camps.
Secondly, venting can lead to more venting. Which then brings your entire community in to vent with you and express their support. Pretty soon your entire Facebook page is devoted to the situation. Not only is that unhealthy for you and your tribe, but it may also come off as superficial in a trial.
FightingOur biggest and most problematic misuse of social media in your case is fighting. Really it could be fighting with anyone, but usually it is fighting with the other party. Maybe your ex posted something about you and you felt the need to defend yourself. Everyone in your camp sees the retort and comes to your rescue. Then his or her camp decides to chime in because surely the other side just doesn't know the entire story! Pretty soon there is conflict everywhere and way too much information has been disseminated in a public sphere.
In addition to saying things that could be used to hurt your case, the behavior itself could be damaging. This is just snippet of you and your life. Don't let it reflect something negative. One moment of aggression or anger could be documented and blown up for the world to judge.
Enjoy your social media account, but do your Attorney a favor and keep your private struggles private.