You’ve heard it before: think before you text, tweet, or post. With all of the social media marvels out there, people are communicating like never before. I’ll admit, I’m a millennial, and we millennials sure love to text, tweet, post, and blog. Documenting every thought, emotion, and life event, from the mundane to the magnificent, has become second nature to many.
More and more, attorneys are seeing cases where these types of messages play a key role. One party wants to use these types of communications in court to prove or disprove some element or theory of its case. In fact, this issue is becoming so prevalent that in July, the North Carolina State Bar adopted an ethics opinion which appears to impose a duty on a lawyer to advise his or her clients about social media if that media contains information that may be relevant or material to the client’s representation. Certainly, the limits and particular application of this rule are yet to be determined.
In the family law context, social media is frequently a topic of concern among clients. People tend to forget that what they put out there, whether it’s a post, message, tweet, photo, or other communication, can be highly visible. These communications are often relevant to the claims or defenses in family law matters, and the other party (spouse, other parent, etc.) might have the ability to view your social media pages (unless you are a privacy setting whiz, and most of us are just not that vigilant). So, here’s my personal opinion when it comes to social media… heed your mother’s advice, and if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all!