The lesson for me comes in the fifth grade with Rosemary T's autograph book. Back then girls had autograph books, and they'd pass them around for everybody in the class to sign. I decided that humor was a necessity, rather just sign my name. At the time Coke had a tagline of something like "Be refreshed have a Coke." Well, I took a spin-off and wrote, "Be refreshed have a shit."
Little did I know that the teacher, Mrs. Stevens would not only see and sign on the opposite page, but she was in a women's group with my mother. She handed the page to Mom later that day. The scene that followed just a few hours later was almost identical to the scene in Christmas Story where the kid gets his mouth washed out with soap.
My Dad sat me down that night and gave me a lecture about being careful what you put in print. While I never forgot the lesson, I haven't always been able to live by it. Over the years I've mellowed a little but there are still those times when I've simply lost it, and thanks to email it's easier than ever to respond and get instant fulfillment.
And that hits on the problem. So many of you get sucked into battles, especially on Facebook. As an administrator in three different forums, I'm amazed at not only the comments in reaction to other photographers but things people post about difficult clients. Would you want a client to read what you're writing and sharing?
So the next time you want to put up a post about the bride from hell you worked with, or you decide to shred another photographer for any reason in a public forum - remember this: