For those in the spotlight, the internet is not so fun. Not a moment can go by when the world isn’t critiquing politicians, athletes, celebrities and various other public figures.
I joke with my fraternity brothers (with whom I hold football season tickets) about how it was such a blessing to have attended college right before smartphones, social media, etc.
I remember Friday afternoons and calling my girlfriend; if she didn’t answer (or if I didn’t see her at Po Boys/Brick City/Purple Porpoise/Salty Dog Saloon), I would not hear from her until the next day. Amazing.
Going out on a limb here; I seem to remember there might have been a rowdy night was on the calendar. Guess what? No one posted about it, no one saw it, it only lives where it should, in our memories.
But these days, to get a glimpse of what college kids are up to today — via sites like Total Frat Move or Total Sorority Move — is almost unbelievable. Do these kids realize they will need jobs someday?
A digital reputation follows you everywhere. Anyway, returning to my point before I started thinking about “college” … elected officials and scandals. The web really puts it out there.
Let’s take a look:
Who can forget Chris Christie and working together for bongs, deleted fast, but not fast enough; the internet is unforgiving.
The former first lady and the turnip:
While this is the least embarrassing of today’s examples, it still is so not funny that it makes you cringe. But I guess she and someone else thought it was funny. If you haven’t seen the revamp of the Gong Show, check it out. I bring this up because this clip is obviously gong-worthy.
Moving on to more recent events … the current resident of the White House posted:
“Look at the way I’ve been treated lately, especially by the media,” Trump said in a commencement speech Wednesday at the Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut.
“No politician in history, and I say this with great surety, has been treated worse or more unfairly. “No politician in history. None eh?
And, of course, the “basket of deplorables,” while not an actual post on the internet through memes and constant press it might as well have been. Thanks to the relentless online commentary it was blasted out to the masses, again and again, and again and again …
What is one to do?
As I tell people if you want ultimate security from online threats and a zero percent chance of digital embarrassment? There is a solution. It’s free too.
It’s called “stay off the internet.”
Practice those speeches boy and girls, double-check those posts and — if you are in a highly visible position — have someone else approve them also.
There is also the don’t post/text after 10 p.m. That is a good rule, it should block any post motivated by a cocktail (or two). I occasionally appear on local TV here in Florida, so I know all about saying stupid things on TV.
Keep it simple, and your audience will appreciate it.
Social media is an excellent tool for broadcasting news and other tidbits that offer an opinion. The rapid-fire delivery will continue to catch us by surprise, and mistakes will happen.
Use common sense and have another set of eyes on things, with luck, you will need to ultimately minimize your risk somehow — since staying off the internet is simply not going to happen.
Blake Dowling is CEO of Aegis Business Technologies. He can be reached at [email protected]ch.com, and his favorite beer is Harpoon IPA.