Speaking from experience . . .

Obama Smoking

Asked by one student how he could become President someday, Obama issued a warning about Facebook. “I want everybody here to be careful about what you post on Facebook, because in the YouTube age whatever you do, it will be pulled up again later somewhere in your life. That’s number one,” he said, according to Bloomberg. – source

Good advice but I really wonder what will be considered “bad” in 30 years1. Neither party has been too clean in terms of youthful (on non-youthful) “indiscretions” lately2. Leaders in the private sector and many religions don’t seem any different.

I wonder if the easy and frequent documentation, not to mention publication, of all sorts of mistakes will change what people expect out of politicians and people in general. People make mistakes. It’s going to happen to lots of them. Will the sheer proliferation make those mistakes matter less? Will it take more and more shocking things to make any sort of impression?

That’d be an interesting byproduct. As a result of the consistent chronicling of “bad” behavior in our society the definition of bad behavior has been revised. I think it has already happened. I’m not sure if it’s good or bad. Maybe we’re looking at people realistically or maybe we’re lowering the bar.


1 Granted, many people don’t care about smoking pot but it’s still against the law and photographic evidence bragging about breaking the law isn’t the best idea, right Michael Phelps?

2 I won’t get into what personal stuff is currently going on with a ridiculous number of politicians.

Comments on this post

  1. Jose said on September 8, 2009 at 8:57 pm

    You’re so right about that. Even more interesting, Van Jones had to “resign” because of his radical background, even after he grew up and settled into working within the system. I find that rather interesting. The interwebs do make it easy to document the madness.

    • Tom said on September 8, 2009 at 9:02 pm

      It does seem we pick and choose our “unforgivable” offenses in a totally arbitrary way. I don’t pretend to understand what society will accept or reject.

  2. Alan Levine said on September 8, 2009 at 11:55 pm

    It gets my fur up when people all start head bobbing to an assertion suggestion we live in fear of our Googled past.

    First of all, if you turn the “argument” inside out, it says we should create some perfect persona of ourselves online, free of faults, like rather than using your own photo, posting some Hollywood model.

    Secondly, who in their ****ing mind is going to weigh what you did 30 years ago with the same weight of what you are currently doing? I would not want to work for or even be asociated with such a numbtard. This is absurd.

    I’ve barked more about this
    http://cogdogblog.com/2009/03/27/fear-of-googled-past/

  3. Tom said on September 9, 2009 at 6:40 am

    Between the specter of a Googled past and online predators it’s a wonder anyone can sleep at night.

    Your post is dead on. I had commented on it way back when (although the link is now dead). Seeing the scrabble image brought it back to me.

    Schools are definitely making this worse. It’s a strange dichotomy preached by k12. One one hand, it’s ok to make mistakes and to learn from them. On the other, there can be no evidence of any of these mistakes.

    Clearly this blog will keep me from getting hired by any number of people. I, too, think that’s a good thing.

  4. Mike H said on September 10, 2009 at 10:34 pm

    Crazy pic. What could be worse, and I’m sure happens already in campaigns, but imagine what can be photoshoped from your past? It goes to show the importance of leaving a postive imprint on the Internet, rather than negative or neutral.

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