Electronic world fraught with peril

The saying goes something like this: what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.
What we are learning, however, is that what is written on the Internet has an infinite life span. It always can appear to be current. Whether it is texting, tweeting, or in an e-mail, the record lasts forever.
One might not have access to a full conversation that was being exchanged, but the words that are written often are taken out of context.
We used to share thoughts, ideas, and views through telephone conversations. Film was used to record our photos, which were processed and the pictures printed. Those pictures then were shared with family and friends.
The owner had control over who would see the pictures. Some might not have been flattering and good for a laugh, but the distribution was controlled.
Not so today. With every cellphone being a camera, the electronic photos are posted to Facebook and Instagram in an instant. Sharing our thoughts and pictures with family and friends is a wonderful thing, but poor judgment and stupid thoughts remain alive forever.
In the current federal election, two candidates have discovered that the words they used at one point in their lives have come back to haunt them. Liberal candidate Ala Buzreba chose to step down as a candidate for remarks she made as a student in high school.
She apologized for her remarks and said they no longer reflected her beliefs. After all, they were written when she was just 17 years old.
In another case, Conservative candidate Gilles Guibord commented on a newspaper website a year ago about the relationships between men and women. He was entitled to his opinions but in the political arena, they do not fit with today’s expectations.
I’m fortunate that a lot of the things I said and did growing up as a teenager were never recorded. My beliefs as a 17-year-old are not my beliefs as a 65-year-old.
The millennial generation faces far more scrutiny than the “baby-boomer” generation ever did. Essays written by university students have come back to haunt political candidates 20 years after they were submitted for marking.
I admit that as an employer, I scan Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other sources to examine whether or not prospective candidates will fit into our team of employees.
What period of time should we judge the comments or actions of an individual? Should what a person did as a teenager tag them for the rest of their lives? Should a silly photo posted by a friend to the web haunt a person for the rest of their life?
In this election, and in future ones, all the parties will be parsing every word by every candidate that has been collected through electronic means, whether current or historic, and using them to embarrass candidates.
At what point will we begin to understand the changes brought by the electronic world and the perils that accompany it?

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