Brooke Amelia Peterson likes making YouTube videos. She never imagined one of her most recent ones would end up getting her dad fired.
So, what happened?
"Peterson posted a five-minute video of a September day in Silicon Valley, which mostly included shopping for makeup and clothing. Harmless, and not unlike other YouTube videos posted by teenagers.
But then, in the video, she visits her father on Apple's campus in Cupertino for what seems like dinner. As they munch on pizzas in the company's cafeteria, Peterson's dad hands her his iPhone X to test. That's when YouTube viewers got about 45 seconds of footage of Peterson scrolling through various screens on the new design and showing off its camera."
After being reposted by various Apple blogs, the video went viral. (You can see the original video here...or scroll down to the bottom of this article where I've reposted it.) In a follow-up video, Peterson explains that Apple asked her to remove the original post and she did.
"I had no idea that this was a violation," Peterson says in the video. "[My father takes full responsibility for letting me film his iPhone X."
She then drops this major bomb:
"Apple let him go. At the end of the day, when you work for Apple, it doesn't matter how good of a person you are. If you break a rule, they just have no tolerance."
Peterson goes on to say that neither she nor her father are bitter. "They had to do what they had to do," she says. "I'm not mad at Apple. I'm not going to stop buying Apple products...My dad had a really great run at Apple."
"I don't think he deserved this, but we're okay," she added. "We're good."
Apple hasn't responded to any requests for comment. But while the video may seem innocent, The Verge reports that the originally posted video included footage of "an iPhone X with special employee-only QR codes," adding, "a notes app was also shown on the iPhone X in the video, which appeared to include codenames of unreleased Apple products."
Peterson and her father seem to have fallen victim to the snares of social media. Since this medium is ruled by emotional behavior, I couldn't help but think of how emotional intelligence--the ability to make emotions work for you instead of against you (and the topic of my forthcoming book)--could have helped.
In that spirit, let's pause for a moment and consider a few lessons learned when it comes to your online posting habits:
1. You might go viral. And that's not necessarily good.
Peterson claims that she never thought her video would get many views, seeing that countless others had already posted early looks at the iPhone X. She certainly wasn't prepared for the backlash that followed, in the form of ad hominem attacks on both her and her father.
"I don't understand the amount of hate that is in this world," Peterson tearfully tells viewers.
If you're part of the generation who was raised on the internet, you may dream of going viral. If you do, be careful what you ask for.
2. You'll have to deal with the consequences. But you're not the only one.
It's true that the ultimate decision of what you're going to post online lies with you. But while you may be willing to accept whatever effect doing so has on your job or reputation, you must remember that it will probably affect those who are close to you as well.
Instead of getting caught up in the moment and sharing something you may later regret, you should think before you post.
- How will I feel about this in a week, year, or several years?
- Could sharing this have adverse effects on myself, my family or other loved ones?
The answers to those questions may convince you that your planned post isn't really worth it after all.
3. Train your children.
Remember that your children may be more technologically-savvy than you, but they don't possess your experience or same level of judgment. Further, they're likely still learning how to handle the power of emotion.
You wouldn't let them start driving a car or using a credit card without giving them training and instructions, so why should you do so with social media?
If you're not familiar with the software and applications they're using:
- Do some research.
- Subscribe to their channels and follow their posts.
- Give them feedback and guide their internet usage.
Doing so will draw you closer as it demonstrates your interest in what's important to them. But even more importantly, it allows you to help safeguard them from the numerous pitfalls and traps they're bound to encounter.
In the end, it may save you your job.
Or, it could save a whole lot more.