The Editors' Blog

Bad choices gone viral

Because of social media and the web, bad things can happen to people who have made certain life choices.

I suppose we can debate what constitutes bad judgment all day long. Let us just say that the penalty for risky behavior has escalated dramatically.

In the old, pre-Twitter, days, some college athletes took cash and other bennies under the table. But they didn’t have a super-easy way to blab about it to the world. Then social media came along, and the NCAA’s job of discovering rule violations suddenly became easier. Just track players’ Twitter feeds for updates about shopping sprees and South Beach excursions.

In the old, pre-Twitter, pre-Internet days, if a student at a prestigious Southern institution of higher education decided to moonlight in porn films, this might have flown under the radar, if the student was lucky. Yeah, no more.

In the old pre-Instagram days, if high school girls managed to get themselves photographed in the altogether, these pictures wouldn’t have been suddenly accessible to thousands of eyeballs. Now they are, in 2014.

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social media have now made it possible to instantly share (or have shared for you) all of life’s choices.

This is not a good thing in many instances. I am extremely glad that Twitter, Facebook and Instagram were not around when I was a kid, is all I’m saying.