A colleague posted a link to Teenagers: Why You Should Care About Your Digital Footprint that I shared with my teen who just got her Facebook account, and the parents of other teens.

It’s good reading, and a good reminder, for us all.

The main lessons:

  • Information travels fast and is often taken out of context
  • Don’t be impulsive
  • If you wouldn’t say it face to face, don’t say it in the social space
  • Not everything is personal
  • You are not as anonymous as you think
  • Your online actions could make or break you
  • Stop Before You Hit Submit
  • Further:
    • Who will see it?
    • What can they do with it?
    • Could this impact me in the future?
    • Why do I want or need to share it?

As Adam Levine is learning today, something said in passing can also be posted to social media, and take on a life of its own. I know Adam doesn’t hate America. But, wow, talk about a quip heard round the world.

On a smaller scale, it is the comment or picture that gets picked up and spread around the school.

Or the office.

Or the industry.

Teens and celebrities are not the only ones who hit that send or publish button too quickly. Or have something they said picked up and distributed out of context. That’s nothing new. Been happening since Outlook took over our e-mail servers in offices.

However, that was also before Above the Law started republishing, and then promoting,  e-mail scandals on its website. Before Twitter and Instagram and Facebook could reach thousands within a span of moments.

Remember the CFO of that company that got fired when he posted his YouTube rant. Just Google that phrase and you have page after page written about him. That will never, ever, ever go away. Bet he regrets that now.

  • So, remember your grandma, or your mom before hitting that send button.
  • Always assume anything you say or type is being recorded and could be shared.
  • There really is no such thing as privacy, and, as Ben Franklin said, “Three can keep a secret, if two of them are dead.”
  • You cannot hit delete, or recall that e-mail, fast enough. There will be a permanent record.

Knowing the nice Jewish boy that he is, I’m sure there’s an great-uncle, aunt or bubbe reprimanding Adam’s parents right now.

Trust me. I know. The last thing anyone wants is to the be the focus of the family’s gossip on Rosh Hashanah or Passover. Or the ridicule of the school yard. Or the gossip at the next industry event. Or be the lead story on Above the Law.