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Tough lesson

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The lead-up to June's provincial election took another twist with word that local resident Matt Soprovich, who announced in March he was seeking the NDP nomination for Kenora-Rainy River riding, was disqualified from running by party brass in Toronto.

The reason? According to a lengthy release issued by Mr. Soprovich (an edited version of which appears as a letter to the editor in this week's Times), it was due to “historical content on my personal social media feeds,” some of which dates back five years.

Among the offending content was a picture of Mr. Soprovich “mooning," a video clip posted to Instagram of him ripping out of a shirt "Hulkamania” style, and a Facebook post describing his severe hangover due to excessive New Year's Eve celebrations the night before.

Mr. Soprovich admitted he did not take the time to “scrub and hide" the social media past of his youth as extensively as he should have and takes full blame for that, saying he understands the world we live in where "any ill-timed or unfortunate photo from college can be dredged up at a moment's notice.” Whether this should be considered fair or not is moot, he added.

He's right about that. Also moot is whether the party brass, in this day and age of “attack ads," truly feared Mr. Soprovich's "immature" and "boneheaded” (his words) antics could be used against him and the party in the coming campaign or if it was just a convenient excuse to make sure their preferred candidate secured the local nomination.

The bottom line is material he posted online came back to bite him.

It was a tough lesson learned for Mr. Soprovich but it's also one everyone should heed, particularly young people. Employers have been known to “creep” social media of prospective employees during the interview process, so anything on there that may be construed as inappropriate behaviour can make the difference between getting a job or not—even years later.

Be careful what you post or share. What may seem funny or innocent youthful hi jinx at the time just might wind up being regrettable down the road.

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