kara alongi16-year-old Kara Alongi, known as the "Twitter hoax teen," has been making headlines for a few days now after putting her family and law enforcement through the ringer with one damning tweet: “There is somone in my house call 911." As you've probably heard by now, people who spotted the message concluded that someone was in the teenager's house and that she was in need of help, and it lead to a full-on wild goose chase that ended Tuesday when Alongi was found walking along the New Jersey Turnpike and reunited with her family.

While it's not quite clear if Alongi will face charges in connection with the tweet, the incident seems like a major wake-up call for all of us. Sure, we could pass this off as a teenage screw-up, but what Alongi did is something many adults are also guilty of: Using Twitter -- or any other form of social media -- in a completely irresponsible way.

Seriously, it's almost as if there's something about communicating screen-to-screen as opposed to face-to-face that makes people think they can shrug off any consequences that may stem from their words. Take the fat-shaming bully who emailed WKBT news anchor Jennifer Livingston. Anonymous commenters who take to blogs all over the web to personally attack writers. Celebrities who mouth off via tweets and then delete the offending post, thinking that'll somehow be a way to brush it under the rug for good. Ha! 

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But as we can see from what happened with Kara Alongi, words exchanged screen-to-screen can be just as -- if not MORE -- dangerous than words exchanged over the phone or face-to-face. Without tone or context, we're often left to jump to the worst possible conclusion. So, out of respect for others, we all should try to treat communication via social media with not just a little more, but the utmost care.

Do you agree some people are too wily-nily with what they write via social media? What was your personal takeaway from this Twitter hoax incident?

 

Image via Clark Police Department