A Jumbotron and the internet can make a deadly combination… to your reputation at least. Take for instance the case of the young Ohio State fans watching from the stands at this year’s Sugar Bowl. The young man was crouching by the rail as he watched the game, and the young lady was innocently rubbing his back, until she realized she was on television. As soon as it came to her attention that the camera was turned their way she quickly pulled her hand away and had a decidedly uncomfortable look on her face.
As with almost anything embarrassing that makes its way onto a camera these days, the awkward moment immediately went out on the internet. The withdrawn hand and the uncomfortable look on the girl’s face gave rise to speculation that she had just been caught cheating on an absentee boyfriend, and the rest, including her reputation, was history.
Apparently the speculation was wrong and the two are really a couple, but that hasn’t stopped the internet from having its fun with them. Just to make matters worse, some enterprising soul even reversed the video, making it appear as though the young lady picked her nose and deposited the result into the guy’s hair. Hopefully no serious damage was done and the young couple will look back on this in their declining years (you know, their 30s) and laugh about all of this.
There are of course, a couple of lessons that should be learned here. The first, that people shouldn’t jump to conclusions about things they see on the internet without having all the facts is probably the most important one, and the one least likely to be learned or heeded. The second lesson then is to remember that there is a camera in nearly every back pocket you meet, on most street corners, inside and outside of all commercial buildings, and even in every baby nursery in your neighborhood.
Back when I was growing up we were fortunate enough to be able to behave badly in public without having a permanent record of it made available to the whole world before the hangover started. We now live in a different world, a world where your momentary lapses are likely to be preserved for posterity and shared with the world as fast as you can say “upload”. Even your own camera is subject to being hacked, so your private photos and videos are at risk as well.
So yes, beware the Jumbotron, but the only safe way to avoid global embarrassment is to keep your clothes on in public, behave yourself, and be careful who you hang out with. That, of course, is the same kind of advice mothers have been giving their kids for generations; maybe they were onto something.