Apparently, some people are using Twitter to spread word about individuals who are arrested, according to Matt Kelley’s blog. In fact, Montgomery County, Texas District Attorney Brett Ligon recently started tweeting all of his DUI arrests (including names and case numbers).
Tweets, for the uninitiated, are those short messages that people can send from their computers, blackberrys and cell phones and broadcast instantaneously to anyone who is following them. The argument these new “offense tweeters” are using is that this they’re merely passing along information that is already public in the daily police blotter.
I’m not so sure how I feel about this. I’m all for living in an open society where information is disseminated freely. On the other hand, an arrest obviously doesn’t mean conviction — and there’s potential here to hurt an even greater number of reputations before a case has been adjudicated. Plus, these messages don’t go away. Instead, they may live on in the Internet even long after a case has been dismissed. I’ve already written about how such information presents difficulties for individuals who have had their records expunged.
Bottom-line for ex-offenders: Be honest about your background. I don’t know how this Twitter issue will be resolved, but it’s just one more reminder that arrest information is out there and more available than it’s ever been. All the more reason to be upfront in a job interview and not take chances.