Okay, I admit, I might have been over-dramatizing things a little with the word "downfall", but it has been on my mind lately, especially given recent reports about how people have been shaming themselves unknowingly or rather, offhandedly. Because social media has become somewhat like an "invisible" outlet for most, we tend to forget that we actually have people paying attention to what we have to say.
Admit it, for most of the Internet-savvy, we will curse and swear on Facebook or Twitter without a single thought when a cab driver drives recklessly or when the release date of a revered tech gadget gets delayed - and it becomes even worse, since our mobile devices expedite the process, with its 24/7 wireless connectivity and apps that eventually allow us to update our social networking profiles without much of a hindrance or more importantly, without consideration.
These updates are more so than often harmless rantings about everyday life, but even so, there have been slips through the net (afterall, we are only human), so much so that there is somewhat of an underground Internet pop-culture surrounding these faux pas. Take for example, the website "facebookfails", a collection of badly-phrased, and sometimes, insensitive or insipid comments that people leave on their own FB accounts, and are subsequently captured for all to laugh and mock at.
To add on, an article that I have recently came across enforced this train of thought: Forbes.com, covered an interesting piece about how people have ruined their careers by updating their statuses with sensitive information pertaining to the nature of their jobs. You can read it here - some highlights include an associate professor of sociology making wisecracks about hiring a hitman to off her students, and policemen giving out details about drug busts and secret operations.
Has social media encroached our lives to a point where networking is no longer a personal affair? Yes, to a certain extent - while privacy laws have given us the power to select our audience, chances are that most aren't even really paying attention to them anyway.
So, bottom line: be careful of what you say or "think", because it's all done aloud these days and there is no room for forgiveness in the world we call the Internet. Social connections, conversations - in the form of threaded comments, replies - are recorded in black-and-white for most to see and I must say, the old tradition of relying on a worn notebook is still the best choice. Remember, all eyes are on you (100+ million pairs on Twitter, 400 million pairs on Facebook... and growing), my friend, so tread lightly.
Wong Casandra / Former Tech Writer
A regular self-confessed gamer, and consumer-tech geek. Also, an amateur photographer who currently shoots on a Nikon DSLR 90. BOOYAH!