Have you heard the urban legend about the drunk driving female who live streamed her entire drunk driving episode for the world to see? No? Let me first make one addendum to the line above, this absurd event is not an urban legend at all. Last October, a Florida woman used an app called Periscope to broadcast her poor..let me re-phrase… disgusting decision. Her poor judgment landed her in jail because someone viewing the livestream called the police, and by seeing landmarks in the background of her journey, they were able to successfully determine her location and make an arrest.
Why would someone who is clearly performing an illegal act take time to broadcast to the world her actions? Perhaps the same reason people videotape fights and do nothing to help the victim, but instead just hit record on their digital device, and cheer on the attack. We have a power never before seen in history of mankind. We can create shock and awe across the globe in the matter of minutes. Just how many of us have been properly trained on how to go about doing this in a responsible manner? By watching and reading news, I would venture to say not nearly enough.
The internet is full of inappropriate rants, videos, tweets and blogs. This is by no means limited to the general population. We see celebrities and politicians making outrageous comments about anything and everything. In the world of public relations any publicity is good publicity…right? Wrong! Many times these not so well thought through posts to the web leave a wake of hurt and embarrassment that last a lifetime.
During my INF125 course, I like to have the class discuss and debate these topics, because this is not a passing fad. We can literally stream our daily actions live for the world to see. Sometimes this is as harmless as streaming your child’s first steps or first words. However, the videos that tend to make the news are those which typically cast a bad light on the person taking the video, or the individual being recorded. Some are hoping to gain their 15 minutes of fame with these postings, and some are just hiding behind the safety net of the web because they are not confident or brave enough to debate their ideas in a relevant public forum.
I advise using this one simple litmus test in regard to posting anything online:
Would this be something you would take the time to write down on paper, or put it on a VHS tape (yes I’m dating myself), and present to your grandmother? We have such easy access to type up a rant and hit send without giving it a second thought. Before you hit that magic “enter” key remember this: Just because you can, does not mean you should. Grandmother’s insight still trumps Kim Kardashian, despite what pop culture wants you to believe.
Mr. Gossett, Chatfield Instructor