A traffic safety message for social media pros

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"With great power comes great responsibility."

Uncle Ben was right, but it's especially apparent in an age where we have the awesome power of anywhere, anytime live mobile HD broadcasting in our pockets. I've been seeing a trend lately that - as someone for whom social media puts food on my table - really disturbs me.

I'm talking about people live streaming video on Facebook or Instagram while driving. It's not just a here and there thing. I'm actually seeing it more often than I'm comfortable with as a social media professional. This is happening both with people who do social media for a living (like myself) or have a major following, and also people who don't. There have been disturbing stories in the news recently about a girl who drove drunk and crashed her car, killing her sister - while live-streaming the whole time.

Let's make no mistake about it - this is distracted driving, and it's dangerous. It's actually next-level dangerous. Talking on a phone while driving is one thing, but live streaming while driving is a whole other level of stupid. Not only are you engaged in talking to an audience, but you're also a camera operator of what's essentially a live TV show. Add to that those who read and respond to the text comments of the audience during the broadcast. I just can't fathom how people think this is a good idea.

I just watched a pair of videos a local "social media pro" recorded (not live) while driving and hand-holding the phone out in front of him. All this is happening while driving on a busy, narrow corridor flanked by cars and large trucks in traffic. This annoys me to no end.

I think that we, as people who do social media for a living, have a greater responsibility to do it right and exhibit safe behaviors when shooting video and live streaming. It should be incumbent upon us to hold a higher standard for others who may someday emulate what we do themselves.

I'm not saying that video should be entirely kept out of cars. If you have to do a video while driving, pull over where it's safe and park. If you're a passenger and can do it without distracting the person driving, be my guest. I have - admittedly - recorded a video or two in my car in the past, but it's always been done with the phone attached to a dash mount out of my view of the road. That said, I've stopped doing that as I've seen the frequency (and severity) of this trend grow.

No text message or phone call is worth a life - yours or other drivers' on the road. And certainly, no video is worth a life either.

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