CreativityStrategy & Marketing

Taking Something off the Internet? Forget It

Someone once said: “You can’t take something off the Internet – it’s like taking pee out of a pool.”  As a social media user, I can see that exposing your life on the web has a downside.  It’s an interesting issue happening as twenty something’s leave college and start looking for a full time job.  Remember, this is a generation that grew up revealing the most intimate details of their lives on their social media pages.  Pictures of getting drunk in Cabo, fooling around on spring break, or other goofy stuff is becoming normal on many profile pages.  But what they don’t expect is that as soon as they leave a job interview the first thing a prospective employer does is conduct an internet search on their name.

And guess what comes up?

Thousands of kids are finding it difficult to convince employers of their maturity after seeing a few shots from their social media pages.  I was in Miami recently and listened to a statewide public service radio campaign attempting to discourage young women from posting suggestive or explicitly sexual photos on their websites.  The spot made clear that once it’s posted, the photos can easily be copied, redistributed, and viewed by pedophiles, stalkers, the leering neighbor next door, or perhaps most embarrassing of all, their dad.

The Associated Press reported years ago that prosecutors had begun using photos posted on social networking sites to embarrass and damage the reputation of defendants. There is a strange mental shift taking place when people post to a social networking site which is available to untold millions of viewers, and yet feel that it’s somehow a private space.

So the next time you start to upload that picture of you with underwear on your head, remember how hard it is to take pee out of a pool…

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  1. I was thinking about this just this morning.  It’s not going to be long before some presidential candidate is going to have a whole virtual life trail that will be exploited on the campaign trail.  Especially since Facebook now "owns" anything put up on their site.  Can you imagine?  A sitting U.S. president having his life’s worth of chat messages published in a book?  Can you really respect a man who used a bunch of smileys or flamed someone because of their opinion of a Harry Potter movie or a sports team? 

    It’s coming.

  2. Phil,

    Sometimes, the internet is a great aggregation of truth, to wit: 


    From the Prudent Bear Website ( are Wrong-Headed

    • by Gordon Ringoen
    • March 20, 2009

    (Gordon Ringoen writes that the current economic crisis is due to gross overvaluation of financial holdings, real estate and pay of self-servicing, ego-driven, top-echelon luminaries of various Ponzi scheme stratagems; which done in open yet hard-to-discern collusion, resulted in a global downturn of epic proportions.  He writes…) So, once the principles of the scheme were understood by the masters of the universe, it was only a matter of getting the broad economy to accept the uneconomic prices of assets as value. This was accomplished by attacks on many fronts. First, they let the majority of the people in on the scheme. The public participated from rising stock prices in their 401(k)’s and appreciating house prices. They provided huge financial incentives to bankers, brokers, hedge funds, and industrial management through bonuses, incentive compensation and stock options to promote the scheme. They contributed billions of dollars in political contributions to politicians to deregulate the financial industry and turn their back on oversight and enforcement. They created over-the-counter derivatives, a first cousin of credit, with no regulation and minimal disclosure to accelerate the process.  They co-opted the media, particularly special purpose business publications and cable TV channels, to be cheerleaders for the swindle by ever touting the promise of a free lunch while pimping the inflated assets as investments. They developed a co-dependant relationship with certain fundamental religious groups that believe, if you make money, God must be pleased with you. And if you are poor, it must be God’s way of sending a message of his disfavor. And finally, they corrupted education and, the very economists themselves, through endowed chairs, book deals, speeches, consulting work, and important government positions. 1.     An important net affect of this scheme is that it leads to a massive transfer of wealth from those wage earners, who have limited financial resources, to those who have large amounts of financial capital, executives of publicly traded companies and the participants in the execution of the scheme in the financial industry.  The fellow travelers in government, media education, and religion also get a piece of the action.2.     The scheme, which is essentially a Ponzi scheme based on credit, requires ever increasing amounts of credit and derivative creation to sustain the game.  The game comes to an end when the financial world finally comes face to face with the real world.  In our case, reality gained the upper hand when the middle class could not afford the mortgages for the inflated value of houses.

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