The broadcasting of serious psychological neuroses to one’s entire personal network is now so commonplace that, as a topic of discussion, it’s considered boring. We routinely expect one or another of our online colleagues to commit these kinds of indiscretions, and when they happen we largely ignore them. It’s almost as if questions of morality, or of common sense, have been relegated to the realm of taste: never mind the consequences, if “Dave from Barrie” wants to advertise on his public profile that he spent the afternoon sucking fumes from a bong, even if he missed a company retreat to do so, and his boss, a devout Baptist, can see his profile — well, why not let him? There is something to the idea that every one is their own master, but when everything is the same as everything else, what’s the point, and what is there left to be master of?

Looking at the above example, can you think of many things worse, or more awkward, to share with an easily searchable network of your peers? A network that (no matter how “private” your profile) has recently been revealed to have serious compromising security flaws regarding exactly the kind of data that is compromising? What was published above wasn’t meant to be groundbreaking or controversial, else it would be more acceptable; it was barely even coherent. The status wasn’t released into a closed-knit group of friends who would understand the statement in-context and alongside the larger history of the individual: it was released into a network many orders larger, in which ignorant rubes like myself are free to make whatever they want of it.

Why would anyone willingly subjugate themselves to such torture? Certainly we all feel the need for the catharsis of self-expression, but why in a venue so cold and unfeeling, one in which we are not likely to be responded to or even understood? It’s true that in a flood of hundreds or so of these events, the indiscretion itself may go unnoticed: but that doesn’t make it any less, or mean the consequences (the many consequences: personal and professional) are in any way diminished. At least do it intelligently, at least have some purpose! Then you might be able to defend yourself.

One Comment

  1. We don’t largely ignore them! We mock them and post screenshots to our blog.

    I guess I meant… that we rarely consider or confront them.

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