“Caught in the act – texting while driving. Police gave me a massive fine. Now I’m broke and it’s my own stupid fault.”
The above is an adapted quote from one of the most powerful social media updates I have read in ages. The original post was shared among friends only so I won’t actually link you to the source. Even so, I think the person who had the cojones to share this about themselves online is awesome for using social media in this way.
Why? Because it reminded me of something that happened to me around eleven or twelve years ago, which I’d hereby like to share publicly. I was on the telephone with someone who was driving, on their way to me. Then, as I looked out the window and saw them pull up the driveway, he very nearly hit a lady with a pram. He hit the breaks just in time. Just.
While I may not have been the person behind the wheel that day, I felt and still feel very guilty about what happened. As the person distracting the driver, I was equally guilty. Whether or not they were holding the phone or speaking to me hands-free is irrelevant. Nothing, really nothing was that important that we should have put ourselves and others at risk the way we did. Whatever it was we were talking about on the telephone, I don’t remember, but I am absolutely certain it could have waited. We could have waited and then we would have had all the time in the world to discuss whatever it was we wanted to discuss without putting anyone at risk. So very nearly we hurt someone and they would have been very badly hurt and that would have been our fault.
The memory still haunts me, and the person putting up the status update from which I quoted above brought it all right back to me. And I am so grateful they did, because without them I wouldn’t have posted this.
They got a massive fine, I got a massive shock. No one got hurt. But the point is: worse things could have happened, due to our behaviour. We each had a choice and each made the wrong one. We were and are blessed that that’s the worst that happened, considering the horrors we could have caused.
Perhaps the most powerful use of social media is exactly this, holding your hands up in the virtual world and admitting you’re a real human being. Nothing photoshopped or polished.
“Hey everyone, I screwed up. Big time. But I learned my lesson. And I’m sharing it with you in the hope that you will take notice and like me will learn from this, thus preventing this – and worse! – from ever happening to you, me, or anyone else for that matter.”
To the person who inspired this post: You rock. Big time.