Over the weekend, many people up and down the Eastern Seaboard relied on social media to keep up with the latest on Superstorm Sandy. There were useful tweets from government agencies and relief organizations, as well as news outlets with people in key locations. Citizen reporters helped fill in the gaps.

At the other end of the spectrum were the funny people posting manipulated images of sharks swimming down the streets of Manhattan and other pranksters. One of these people in particular, one with a large following, tweeted a few things that caused many to panic. Shashank Tripathi, a political consultant, might have thought it was funny to tweet about the New York Stock Exchange flooding. He did not think of the consequences. The tweets have caused him to lose his job, and have authorities in New York contemplating criminal charges.

As more and more of our teachers and students join the Twitter community, it is important to constantly remind ourselves that what we say online can be as powerful, or more powerful, than what we say in person to those around us.