It occurs to me that with the combination of cell phones and facebook that this kind of thing likely happens a lot more than we think:
At the exact moment Jon Favreau is receiving high praise in pre-inaugural media puff pieces, the 27-year-old chief speechwriter for President-elect Barack Obama (not Jon Favreau, the Hollywood actor/ director) finds himself in a minor mess over a photo from a recent private party showing him groping the breast of a cardboard cutout of Hillary Rodham Clinton as an unnamed pal wearing an “Obama staff” T-shirt kisses and feeds her beer.
Instead of the liberal world where the press will protect an important Obama fellow from this stuff. (I’ll leave that argument for Violet and friends who won’t be surprised) today lets look at it in the real world.
First of all drunken idiots have been doing things since mead (which tastes awful in my opinion but these guys would disagree) was first created. It’s one of the reasons besides the fact that I’m cheap; I avoid drinking in public places. When you are drunk or stoned you are going to act like an idiot, when I act like an idiot I want to know I’m doing it.
Second of all in the age of the Cell phone and Facebook and e-mail a picture of you being a drunken idiot can not only be spread around the world in moments but might be on youtube forever (just do a search for star wars kid if you don’t believe me). The data may sit but it will be there.
Now imagine you are a HR person, if a candidate passes the first round of interviews I suspect a strong online search will take place. In this age of mandatory “sensitivity” and “sexual harassment” training, growing unemployment and lawsuits on demand are you going to risk a callback to the fellow in that drunken picture mooning the camera or that lady in that web video showing off her thong no matter how good their interview was? I think not.
And PLEASE don’t tell me it doesn’t matter. The 14 year old daughter of one of my oldest friends was talking to me a few days ago. She works in a local supermarket and the discussion of “Merry Christmas vs Happy Holidays” came up. She was told if she said “Merry Christmas” and someone complained, she would be fired. She also said that if she said “Happy Holidays” and someone complained, she would be fired. It was the complaint that mattered and with 100+ teens waiting to take her job she will wisely keep her mouth shut. If she can lose her job for that what do you think a nasty chat log or e-mailed photo will do?
And what if you ever are on the verge of fame of greatness? People will be looking for those photos and blogs will be looking for the hits, just ask Ace.
In the end the internet is like a tattoo it can be expensive and unavailing to try to get off once you are on. This guy has the right idea:
The only real solution, argues a hacker and security researcher who calls himself “Dead Addict,” is to not reveal your personal information in the first place.
That whole article is worth a read but remember this. Unless you were there you will likely never see your grandparents drunk, wild and idiotic even if they were party animals, but your grandchildren’s grandchildren will be able to watch you play “pull my finger” in a continuous loop forever.