So, it seems like there are signs all over the place that I should really think long and hard about this–and who know perhaps you should too. I will give in and spend some time (here) and elsewhere thinking about the downside to being so connected-its all out there.
Back in the early days of the web (1995-1996) when I was still working in local television, I remember producing a series of stories on the emerging threat of identity theft through on line scams, and just poor on line security. Unfortunately, when I Googled for those, they are not available, and to be honest looking back 10+ years, its common sense stuff.
But it was eye opening for me, and there are a lot of take-aways from that reporting that I use this day, and I read a lot about it.
Fast forward to the last couple of weeks-first a very dear friend had her world’s collide, and some of what she said on the internet in her personal life helped fuel that. The details are not important, but the lesson is-and its something I learned from a very unlikely source, an octogenarian news manager: Don’t put it out there if you don’t want it on the front page of the New York Times.
Last night, I got that rude lesson. Granted, in last night’s case (again the details are not germane to the lesson) it was deeper than the poor electronic data management I applied, but that is a contributing factor to today’s (personal life) mess.
So, as I was sipping coffee this morning and flipping through today’s NY Times ruminating on these events, there was a great write through right on subject in the paper: Learning How Not To Share . And the reality is does it all have to be out there?
Although that line can be a little blurry, and there are people who can not see that line at all, and others (like me) who straddle it-there is a difference between what is done and said on line and what reality is. And perhaps, those real differences are becoming less and less, and I update my little Twitterverse each morning about the gym, the world and waking my kids. Perhaps that is my lesson to take away….
But there is also a catharsis to it. Take the case of my friend, she posted a blog last night (its invite only so I won’t piss everyone off with the link) expressing her feelings. Over the summer while my wife was doing a pretty heavy dose of chemo I used Twitter to send messages to the presidential contenders about the state of the nation’s health-care system (at least how I was experiencing it).
Do I think they read them? No. But you can Google them, and when Obama and health care are Googled, somewhere in that return are my ramblings.
And there is the cusp of the moment in history we are on.
We have these powerful tools to add to the national debate, update our friends and family–but we are also accountable for what we put out there, and have to know that even in the world of cyber there are real world repercussions.