I think it's safe to say that many people are stupid, and even people who aren't stupid often do stupid things. There's no other way to explain the cavalcade of idiotic behavior enabled by social media. My favorite stupid social media trick: people posting incredibly offensive or inappropriate content (photos or text) on social media sites and losing their jobs because of it.
Consider the case of Cameron Reilly, a member of the distinctive "Scots Guard" outside Buckingham Palace, who has been pulled off of parade duty during the upcoming royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton and faces dismissal for posting some, ah, indelicate remarks about the royal bride-to-be on Facebook. Oh, also racism and anti-Semitism. Smart!
In his profanity-laced online rants the 18-year-old Reilly specifically referred to Middleton as a "stupid stuck up cow," an attitude which hardly seems likely to curry favor with his employer, Queen Elizabeth, who will shortly become the grandmother-in-law of said cow. It seems Reilly was peeved at the lack of interaction between Middleton and the guard on her recent visit to Buckingham, when all he got was a "sh---y wave," prompting him to ask the world, "Am I not good enough for them! Posh b---h. Who really gives a f--k about her."
A source close to the royals tells People: "This is a treacherous slur on the character of the future Queen. Serious questions need to be asked over this man's suitability to be part of a regiment whose duty is to protect the sovereign. The Scots Guards would never condone one of its own expressing views such as this."
Reilly also graced Facebook with some anti-Semitic remarks following a meeting of Jewish civic leaders at the Tower of London, and referred to Pakistani immigrants living in Britain with an offensive slur. So all in all: a charming young man.
In addition to being pathetically stupid, I think Reilly's (bad) choices encapsulate a widespread disconnect from reality among people using social media, especially when considered alongside an almost endless list of similar transgressions by other hapless fools. Off the top of my head I'm thinking, for example, of the Domino's pizza YouTube fiasco resulting from the "funny" video made by Kristy Hammonds and Michael Setzer, or NYPD officer named Vaughan Ettienne's boast on MySpace that he was "feeling devious" after possibly planting evidence on a suspect.
In short it seems like a lot of people using social media still don't understand that it is, well, social media -- meaning, a thing that allows other people to see what they are doing or saying. Maybe this will change over time, after enough people have been fired because of their own stupid content. Otherwise the best spin I can put on it is economic natural selection: thin the herd!