It seems like every week a new scandal erupts that is fueled by social media. You say or do something incredibly stupid, it is plastered all over the Internet and your career and reputation is in shambles. Recently, the public was incensed by the remarks made by Donald Sterling, soon to be former owner of the Los Angeles Clippers.
This infamous conversation has been played out over and over again in the court of public opinion, however it would not be admissible in a court of law as it was obtained without Mr. Sterling’s knowledge. While his comments provided the world with a glimpse into his perception of life, one might think the conversation he had in this particular instance would have been much different than his actual method of expression had he known he was being taped. Every person on the planet has his or her own views, feelings, prejudices, and opinions, most of which are not on display to the world. When an individual’s personal thoughts are carried out in a very public way, it becomes like “Pandora’s Box”, it is out there for everyone to see and there is no way to put it away out of sight.
This leads us to wonder where are the boundaries between personal and public life? Where do we then draw the line between living our lives versus “big brother” watching us? Unfortunately the wonder of the smart phone coupled with the social media phenomenon, no one can truly escape being incognito.
Do we behave differently knowing that anyone at any time could snap a picture and send it flying warp-speed into the world, forever linking you to something stupid or embarrassing? Just spend a few minutes online and I believe we could safely say no! Many might argue that a personal life is separate from their public life, and what they do on their time is their business. And yes, I do agree with this statement however, technology has evolved to a point where we have given up some of our autonomy.
The next time you feel the need to make a disparaging remark about someone or dance on a bar, you may want to ask yourself is this action worth losing my job or risking my reputation?