The Twitter universe is a place where people can say whatever they want all the time. I cannot tell you how many times I have been fooled by a fake rumor about the death Bill Nye or Hugh Hefner that was spread using Twitter. Most of the time, it is easy to pick up on the hoaxes Twitter likes to spit out, but this weekend showed one instance where people were legitimately deceived, and their deception caused a panic that sparked a trending worldwide manhunt. This was all caused by one person’s tweet.
Kara Alongi, a 16-year-old from Clark, New Jersey, showed why it is important for people to take more of an interest in what they put up on the Internet. Alongi tweeted at 6:12 PM on Sunday, “There is somone in my hour ecall [sic] 911,” which caused thousands of people to worry for her across the nation. The hashtag “helpfindkara” was trending worldwide throughout Sunday evening, as police began investigating her disappearance. Fortunately, Alongi returned home yesterday morning safe and sound after being found walking along the New Jersey Turnpike by police.
I am happy that nothing harmful happened to this girl, but I do believe she should be used as an example of the dangers using Twitter and the Internet can have, intentionally or not. Her one tweet managed to confuse and panic nearly everyone who saw the #helpfindkara trending topic, but for no reason. Now, this girl is considered a delinquent runaway and will be remembered for a long time as that girl who duped nearly the entire Twitter community into thinking something terrible had happened to her.
I hope every teenager and young adult across America takes note of this girl’s actions. These days, social media is being used in more ways than one. Now, when Kara Alongi goes to get a job when she is out of high school, it is going to be easy to put her name in Google and see what commotion she caused using her Twitter. And once something is up on the Internet, there’s no taking it down.
Jobs all over the country are beginning to use background checks of people’s Facebook and Twitter accounts to learn more about the people they hire, yet stunts like Alongi pulled still get posted all the time.
People to this day don’t understand the magnitude of what could happen if they post the wrong thing on the web. If one girl from New Jersey managed to set off a worldwide Amber Alert to try to find her from one tweet, anything could happen. All it takes is for one person to interpret something you post the wrong way, and suddenly your name is being Googled all over the world. Now, the damage from Alongi’s mistake is just a click away for everyone in the world to see. Don’t let something you post on the Internet follow you around for the rest of your life.