Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Pondering Posting Practices on Social Media

Your face could be in a photo gracing the page of someone's Facebook timeline right now and you don't even know it.  Depending upon the number of "Likes" or comments on the photo, your face could be a part of a popular item.  You could have social media celebrity status.
Think about it.  You attended an event where taking photos or video was allowed.  The person standing next to you, let's say on your right-hand side, is using their smartphone to take video of the happenings.  You're dancing or singing or clapping, or maybe even yawning if the event is boring.  The person turns to their left, still recording with their phone, and whatever you're doing at that very moment is being documented.  If he or she is a social media buff with an account and lots and lots of followers on YouTube, you will be in a video that becomes popular.

Verizon DJ booth at SunFest
(Yes, I asked if I could take his photo and use.)

Last month I attended SunFest in West Palm Beach, Fla., an annual celebration featuring national recording artists, a juried art show and lots of food.  Verizon had a DJ booth where contestants danced, and the audience favorite won a new smartphone.  My friend, Kyoto, had the guts to compete.  I knew I had to document this for her using my iPhone.  She along with five other contestants danced to a mix of songs and they were eliminated by round. 
Kyoto survived two rounds, and was eliminated. The final two contestants were a male, who looked to be in his late 20s and a young lady about 14 or 15-years-old.  The last song they battled to was "You Can't Touch This" by M.C. Hammer. Yes, old school music is essential in any dance-off. At this point, I was done recording, but turned the video option on my phone back on because the dude's dancing was hilarious. He truly thought he was dancing, while it just looked like he was trying to catch a beat.  He was the audience favorite and won a Verizon smartphone, I think due to sheer effort.
I was tempted to upload the short, 19-second video of the guy “dancing” on social media. But, I'm not his friend.  I don't know him at all.  So I'd be strictly laughing at him, not with him.  And, sharing the video clip would make others laugh at him, too. 

I decided not to share, even though he was in public and knew being recorded was a possibility, and someone else in the audience was most likely recording him at the same time. I think my choice not to post was a combination of what I learned in my ethics class in grad school, and my grandmother’s advice in the back my mind, “Baby, what goes around, comes around.” Maybe one day if someone I don’t know takes a goofy photo of me, they’ll decide not to post it.  Or, at least I’ll hopefully never know the photo exists.
Nowadays, it seems John and Jane Doe watching more than "Big Brother."  Does that mean we should walk around in fear of being someone's latest social media post?  No.  Does that mean you should be aware if you do anything remotely weird, crazy or are simply within range of someone’s smartphone or tablet PC, a photo or video with you in it can be shared with all inhabitants of earth who are plugged-in?  Yes.