This weekend I attended a bachelorette party. The crowd was mostly gathered when I arrived, and when it seemed we'd reached critical mass, one of the guests made an announcement. "I'm a teacher," she said. "So please, none of these pictures better end of up on Facebook, and please don't tag me in any that do."
She's smart, and no one in the room thought she was a party pooper — rather, her plea was met with nods of recognition and assent. After all, as Scott Brown so elegantly puts it, in the Internet age, "the flip side of Anyone Can Be a Celebrity is Everyone’s a Candidate for the Stocks."
But, points out Brown, it goes further than making sure pictures of you next to the "Pin The Junk On The Hunk" game at a bachelorette party don't hit Facebook. "Thanks to instant distribution, a personal scandal can occasionally engulf the entire globe" — think of the woman caught on a camera for throwing a cat in the trash can in the U.K. And while that's not an act I'll ever be caught in, and I can be pretty sure about that, who among us leads a perfectly un-judge-able life?
That's why Brown's working on his apology now.
The stammers, the downcast eyes, the #rededicatingmylifetojesus hashtag. I don’t know what I’m apologizing for yet, but I’m fairly certain that I’ll soon tweet things I’ll regret, post videos I’ll instantly deplore, and enjoy my share of Facebook death-threat groups. We all will.