A couple of years ago the City of Las Vegas came up with an ad campaign that said something like what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. It’s a catchy slogan and something we all want to believe. We want to believe that we can go to a place where we can act or do whatever we please and no one in our real lives will be the wiser.
No too long ago I was out with a group of friends. As the evening was winding down we all were checking our phones, facebooking, tweeting etc – sans one fellow. He became enraged! Ranting on about how we were living in a false world and he preferred interaction with ‘real’ people and not friends we imagined that were in our phones.
Time and again the mistake is made when we think we live in an Anonymous world when we are in the virtual realm. We say things we would not ordinarily say. We do things we would not really do. All the while thinking we are in some magical land, like Vegas.
I can honestly say I have met some of the best people I know via the internet. One of my very best friends I met via twitter. There are people I interact with daily who I know via Facebook. You see the magic of these social interactions is not the virtualness, but the real nature of the relationships. To me it is the absolute best of the internet.
Conversely, because all too often we develop the what happens online stays online, we behave badly and forget that there can be real consequences. The person who reads what you type is just as real. What happens when your Vegas comes to the attention of your boss, or mother? Are you proud of what you’ve said? Are you willing to ‘own’ it?
This is a cautionary tale. I caution you to be wary of what you share. For the reason that nothing is lost once it is on the internet. In 1997, prior to my meeting Jenn, she was the subject of a front page story for the San Francisco Chronicle. Yesterday when I googled her name that article still comes up. I mention this to illustrate the length of time things can and do live on the internet.
What you say today may create issues not only today with the real people with which you interact but with future people who can access that information.