Friday, May 19, 2006

Broadcasting Your "Mistakes"

I did many, many stupid things as a teen-ager. I did things that were embarrassing. I did things that almost assuredly were against some ordinance or another. More than a decade before Kenny Chesney would sing about it, I would have a keg in my closet.

But what I never, ever did was to take PHOTOGRAPHS of those stupid things and post them in a public forum. Duh!

Yesterday's sports news was marked with news that Catholic University was investigating its women's lacrosse team for hazing. See, not only did they haze (really, who doesn't?), but they took photographs of the hazing and posted them on This news was broken by, where you can still see the photos.

Interestingly, the Web site's author suggested that you could find many more such photos by searching "initiation" and some sport at So I tried it with some arbitrary sport. Several photos came up. I clicked on one.

And -- to my actual amazement -- it was from Ohio State. Yes, that's correct. In roughly 15 seconds of surfing, I found (admittedly tame) photos from athletes at OSU. And although these images are tame, I am pretty sure they contain photo evidence of things these college students would prefer not be seen by their coaches (Sorry -- I started to post links, but I am not into being a narc).

Sure, the Webshots idea sounds cool. And the images are fun to surf. I get it. I study emotion. I know these images are compelling.

Young people are a bit crazy. I was. A lot. And I wouldn't tell them to change. But don't be fooled by the technology. Stop documenting your malfeasance. It's just a bad idea.

You might be running for the Senate one day. You might be the first female chief justice of the United States. George W. Bush overcame allegations of cocaine use. I'm betting that voters would not have been so kind if there had been photographic image.


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