"This week, the once-anonymous woman is doing an airing-of-grievances media blitz, complete with threats of legal action against those who made her hilarious klutziness an internet sensation."
Is there a cause of action for the invasion of privacy that takes place these days when someone catches something stupid that you do — in public — and puts it on YouTube? Hey, don't be stupid! The consequences are much higher today with the internet and viral video. It's a big deterrent. If the legal system turns that deterrent into a monetary gain, it will be incentivizing stupidity.
We need to learn how to live in the world as it is. When we're in public, we have a new dimension of visibility because of digital cameras and the internet. I've been thinking about the effect this is having on politics. Politicians have to watch every single thing they say. That's difficult.
Remember how one word uttered by George Allen destroyed him, because he foolishly thought he was speaking only to a small group and did not foresee how it would play on YouTube. Politicians will have to speak clearly, with a consistent message, and not something tailored to the particular group that they are speaking to at the moment. Obama was able to overcome his "bitter clingers" remark, which was specially designed to reach the hearts of wealthy San Franciscans. But it wasn't easy, and it still dogs him.
Heads up, everybody. Don't stare at the one thing that's right in front of your nose — whether it's your Blackberry or your biggest, wealthiest fans. Pay attention. There's a low wall just ahead, you're about to tumble into the fountain, and the internet is waiting to make you the next sensation.