Canadian candidate forced to withdraw after offensive tweets surface

Ala Buzreba was a candidate for office in Calgary Nose Hill, a federal election district in Canada, running under the Liberal Party banner.  However, she was just forced to end her run after tweets which she sent in 2011 (when she was 17) surfaced:

Buzreba apologized for the comments:

This is an interesting story, and a depressing one.  Why depressing?  Let me start my analysis of this by taking Buzreba at her word: the tweets she made were reflective of who she was as a person four years ago, and not who she is today.  If you assume that this is the case, my goodness, this is depressing.  Who among us hasn’t grown over the course of a four year period?  Would you really want to be judged today based on some of your worst moments at the age of 17?  I certainly wouldn’t.

And this, truly, is the danger of social media.  Every young person thinks, says and does stupid things, but thanks to the wonders of social media, that stupidity is forever digitally enshrined.  Ms. Buzreba will now always be remembered, and known, for dumb crap she said as a teenager, and that’s just not fair.

Two points to this.  First: we, as a society, simply must be better at forgiving the mistakes that young people make on social media.  An adult doing something is one thing, but a 17 year old?  Come on.

Second, schools will need to be more aggressive in teaching teenagers to be more careful with the digital footprint that they leave.  I’m not sure how much education can truly help, but it is a conversation which simply must be broached, given the prevalence of social media and the fact that a mistake can, quite literally, last forever.

Tweets and Consequences

Like the blog?  Get the book!  Tweets and Consequences: 60 Social Media Disasters in Politics and How You Can Avoid A Career-Ending Mistake is now available on Amazon for purchase or download.

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