Living The Life Embarrassing, Stupid Online

Without contradicting the moral weight of social software post from last week, let’s take a moment to look at three stories from Arstechnica about MySpace and others: online video leads to teen arrests, shooting rampage avoided due to MySpace posting, and Google + Facebook + alcohol = trouble.

These are the stories we’ve come to expect: teen does or post the results of something [stupid|illegal|dangerous] in [MySpace|Facebook|some other online place] and gets caught. The point here is that the (meatspace) community’s existing means of enforcement worked, and perhaps worked better, in these new electronic forums.

Our youth’s new Wild West may have instead turned out to be an Orwellian nightmare that no kid can escape from.

It’s bad enough, anyway, that Nate Anderson had to give some advice to the young’ns:

What can you do to keep yourself out the crosshairs? The obvious first step is to internalize the idea that no section of the Internet is your private playground, and to keep your mouth shut in public forums about information you would rather the rest of the world did not know. Beyond that, though, it can be difficult to eliminate traces of stupidity online. Good luck getting Google to remove all links to that embarrassing office karaoke video that comes up first when you search your name. It ain’t gonna happen. The moral of the story is: don’t expect privacy on the Internet and you won’t be disappointed.