There has been quite an upsurge in social media/networking related gaffes lately (isn't gaffes a good word for this as it is defined as a "social blunder"?) and mixed into this is the debate about the online 'outing' of people involved in the riot in Vancouver two weeks ago.
What strikes me about so much of the commentary is that 'social media/networks' are commonly named as the culprits in whatever problem is at hand. Social media/network tools are just that-tools, any gaffes that occur while using those tools are created by the user.
Social media/networking tools can be used in a positive or negative manner-the choice and the responsibility for which way it goes is up to the user. This is why it is a good idea for parents to teach responsible use of social media to their children and provide ongoing coaching; it is also a good idea for managers in organizations to ensure that there is an effective social media policy and that employees are trained, coached and reminded as to appropriate use of the tools. Yes, it is the individuals responsibility but this is still a fairly new tool which is now experiencing rapid growth and change.
The 'how to' of using the tools is a technical training need; the 'what' of the content that one posts falls into the realm of interpersonal skills, reputation management and personal responsibility and accountability. The technical training is relatively easy, the personal development skills are a little more complex but you can start with respect-for oneself and for others.