Bigger Role = Bigger Responsibility
As I write this, Coshocton County is under a Level 3 Snow Emergency. It’s really bad outside. Level 3 is the highest this warning system goes. The only people on the streets are supposed to be emergency personnel. In theory, if you are out galavanting during a Level 3 Snow Emergency, you can be arrested.
We knew this weather was coming. As a matter of fact, it was impossible to avoid. As with any potential snowstorm, nearly every person who has ever been interested in weather begins posting graphics about it a week in advance. I purposefully don’t look at weather forecasts…but even I knew this was coming.
And with the alarmists on social media come the snarky comedians.
At one point I saw a post from a business person who encouraged everyone to “Be prepared.” It read as follows:
-Encourage others around you to also panic by uploading pics of crowded grocery store lines
-Buy every gallon of milk you can find. Are two gallons enough for 2 days of snow? Doubt it, buy 6.
-Do not make eye contact with anyone in the bread aisle. This is a surefire way to incite unnecessary stampedes.
-Check road reports constantly by asking on community pages how the roads are. It’s snowing but are they snow-covered? We don’t know until we ask, again.
-For every .5 inches of precipitation forecasted, you’ll need one loaf of bread and one dozen eggs. For example, 12 inches of snow forecasted X 2 equals 24 dozen eggs and 24 bread loaves.
-Become an immediate social media expert on city snow removal tactics, school superintendent decisions & meteorological forecasts. Who knows better than you? Not a single person who actually does these things for a living.
-Drive your front-wheel-drive Camry up steep hills during the event and take pictures to tell everyone how they should stay off the roads because it’s dangerous, because of you.
-Wear fun thermal socks and post pics of them in front of your fire with the hashtag #SnowDay
When I saw clearly tongue-in-cheek post, I chuckled…and moved on with my day. But then I saw this exact same post from an elected official, and for some reason, it felt different.
I am sure the intent was the same. It was supposed to be funny.
But when it came from that different source, it didn’t seem funny at all.
The point is simple…when you have a bigger role, you have a bigger responsibility. When you have a bigger audience, you should use it wisely. If you are just having some beers with friends, you can say things that should not always say on the radio. Most of us understand this, but when it affects us, we don’t like it.
The pushback is to talk about “freedom of speech.” I get that. But while there is freedom of speech, there is not (and never has been) freedom of consequence.
So if you want to take on a bigger role, or to build a bigger audience, you should. But just know that expectations and responsibility will grow with it.
I hope you take that seriously.