Friday, January 25, 2008

Sexy Text Messages Sink Mayor’s Credibility

It’s been quite a week in Detroit, Michigan. A series of steamy text messages between Detroit Mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick and his Chief of Staff, Christine Beatty were made public. Both the Mayor and Beatty had vehemently denied an affair under oath, during a whistleblower trial last summer.

In the racy text messages Beatty and Kilpatrick had much to say, but since the story broke on Wednesday there has been an eerie silence. Considering that each can be indicted for perjury, one can assume they won’t be texting each other anytime soon.

In our technology driven society we don’t give much thought to what happens to the words we text, IM or post in cyberspace. This case is a chilling reminder that words can come back to haunt you.

When it comes to texting, email and cyber communications there is really no such thing as privacy. Before you press enter, consider how your words will be viewed and more importantly, how would you feel if they were plastered on the front page of a newspaper?

Job seekers are often surprised when I ask about their online identity management. Your Facebook or MySpace profile or comments in forums are discoverable by employers. It’s worthwhile to make sure that like the clothes you wear, your words are presenting the right image.

Should we simply never text or IM? Of course not. We should however practice self restraint. I’m sure that Mayor Kilpatrick and Christine Beatty now wish that they have saved those steamy love messages for in person conversations.

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