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Facebook post costs waitress her job

Ever gotten in trouble for a Facebook post?
I ache for Ashley Johnson. She's the waitress at Brixx Pizza in uptown Charlotte who was fired for her online gripe about lousy customers.
I'd be fuming, too. One couple hogged a table for three hours, forced her to work an hour past quitting time, then graced her with a $5 tip.
The nerve!
But her Facebook vent was spotted and reported to her managers. They showed her a copy of her comment and fired her for violating company policy against speaking disparagingly about customers.
Had I been in her spot - she's a student at UNC Charlotte - I would've ranted, too.
Just not on Facebook.
Not because I'm more circumspect; typically, I'm not. And not because I don't have a Facebook account - I do. But simply because as a grandmother, I am not of the generation who turns to Facebook to share my every fleeting thought.
Those of you over 60 may remember those red-plaid, five-year diaries with the little gold lock and key. It was onto those lined pages as young people we poured our sorrows, our frustrations and our joys.
Our tendency toward privacy was no accident. My mother warned me what her mother had warned her: "Never put anything in a letter you wouldn't want read from the church steeple." Or maybe it was the church steps. Whatever it was, we got the message: Anything you put into writing, can come back to haunt and maybe even hurt you.
Electronics quickly changed our world.
Remember back 20-plus years to those internal messaging systems, installed, obviously, for better communication office-wide. I shudder to think of the unsavory sentiments that flew back and forth between newsroom folks. I still cringe thinking of messages intended for one person that I carelessly zipped (oh, rats!) to the very person I least wanted to see them.
Cringing meant we at least still had sight of our boundaries, even if they were creeping ever farther out to sea.
In the past decade, Facebook and other online social networks have completely changed the face of discretion.
The problem wasn't what the Brixx Pizza waitress said about her customers. The problem was where she chose to say it.
Frustration doesn't change over the generations. Outlets for that frustration do.
Facebook has beguiled many of us into thinking we're all truly "friends," and that we're communicating innocently in a sort of a happy green valley of fellow Teletubbies.
Young people are beginning to learn that's not always the case.
A recent Pew Internet Project found that 18- to 29-year-olds are now more apt to monitor privacy settings than are older adults, and more often delete comments or remove their names from photos so they cannot be identified.
I'm glad Ashley Johnson vented. She had every right to. I just wish she hadn't done it in front of a crowd on the wide-open church steps.
By Dannye Romine Powell

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