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June 06, 2011


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Zaira Rahman

Very true! One must always be careful with what we write and express...we never know how things will turn out to be.

Phil Woodford

Yeah, what would your mom say? It's as good a benchmark as any.

Traci Hayner Vanover

Agreed! As I said to your post on FB, while I don't agree with his antics, I would have had more respect for him if he'd just come out and said, "Yep, it's me. What's your point?"

I believe someone needs to do some social media training with our Congress. Interested, David? :-)

David Meerman Scott

Thanks Zaira and Phil.

Traci, I actually saw that video of the apology in the US Capital. I had been in the Senate Chamber just prior to it. Yeah, I'd love to do some coaching of our representatives.


I do not censor myself or tweet to my followers AS IF I were tweeting to my mother because I'm not tweeting to my mother - that's not what I'm here to do. I don't care if a politician is sending private photos to a woman of interest. It's none of my business and I have better things to do. Anyone hacking and spreading private photos is actually saying more about themselves than the poor dope that sent them.

David Meerman Scott

@Scott_Rose - I don't care about the private photos either.

However my point is that anyone in a position where such photos being seen would harm their career or relationships shouldn't send them - politician, teacher, executive, coach, and many more. Nor when found out should they try to coverup. Those are the lessons I see here.

Fray Close

So where should we be sending our dirty messages then?

Todd Van Hoosear

The advice applies to more than just social networks, but any kind of sharing. Just assume that ANYTHING you say, write, photograph or videotape will eventually see the light of day. Information wants to be free, right? That applies to home movies, sexting, etc.


I'm in the online reputation and privacy business and have dealt with some pretty serious secrets and situations for clients. I've also worked in electronic evidence collection relating to the aftermath of 9/11 and searched plenty of email, hard drives and websites. Absolutely agree that great care is needed and that too many don't understand where the data goes, or who stores it and for how long.

But I'm with Fray Close above. Humans are going to still act like humans. Emotions over logic. Urges over prudence.

What's needed is a safe, secure alternate identity capability for those who want it. Right now it can be done, but it's geeky and risky to pull off. I'm working on some ideas and projects to improve that. Privacy is the new black.

Gruv Media

It's amazing that very public figures still fail to realize the public nature of social media. Don't be a weiner http://bit.ly/jT6vzm

Fray Close

Exactly! Come on, we are going to do it. Sure it shouldn't be on social networks and all, but it is convenient. It isn't like I have state secrets or anything, but is anything safe? Sure once in a while we send a DM to our twitter timelines and feel stupid (dirty or not), but email gets hacked, how safe is the cloud, facebook, twitter blah blah blah. We don't actually have ANY privacy anywhere. And if you go make a place that should be, isn't that the prime place to get hacked?
Should we just throw in the towel and decide well nothing is secure, might as well go with what we have..
And while I don't care about Weiner, I do find the whole thing funny because come on we have all sent a dirty tweet or had something in our phone we didn't want to go out over twitter. But as a society should we actually CARE if he did it?

Remco Janssen

Well, actually this guy is just being plain dumb. But, the point you make is an excellent one and cases like these, David, help us - business professionals - understand more how social networking works. Or doesn't work, for some ;-).

For one of my clients, I'm drafting what should be the best social media guidelines in the industry (kidding), and the vital line that my client really really liked, was the sentence: treat all information shared via social media as though it was public. Even if your settings are set to Friends Only. This post really proves my point, thanks!

David Meerman Scott

Fra, I'm with you on society. But it is a reality that we in the marketing and PR game need to work within.

Highwick - interesting indeed. I'd like to know more.

Todd and Remco -- you are both very savvy PR people. Like me, I bet you see this sort of silly behavior all the time. All we can do is advise. People will still be people.

Al Pittampalli

The world is rapidly moving towards transparency, and away from privacy. We can fight it all we want, but it's inevitable. It baffles me that someone so intelligent, could do something so dumb. Good post.

Mary Mancera

Thanks David for more great perspective. I always tell my clients to treat Social Media like traditional media. Don't say anything you don't want blasted in a headline!

Internet Marketing Review

I totally agree that social networks are never private because of the fact that they can be intrude or hack by other people. Thus, we must be responsible on choosing information that will be posted on your page.

Jodi Kaplan

Politicians never seem to learn that the coverup is worse than the crime. Do something dumb? Admit it and move on.

Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat

One reason that many people are wary of uploading their photos or videos to a social networking site like Facebook is because they are concerned about retaining the copyright to their work.

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