Eric Schmidt suggested that young people should be entitled to change their identity to escape their misspent youth, which is now recorded in excruciating detail on social networking sites such as Facebook.
“I don’t believe society understands what happens when everything is available, knowable and recorded by everyone all the time,” Mr Schmidt told the Wall Street Journal.
In an interview Mr Schmidt said he believed that every young person will one day be allowed to change their name to distance themselves from embarrasssing photographs and material stored on their friends’ social media sites.
How about we start judging people on performance, rather than their off-hours antics or whether or not they are the demon sperm of Tim Russert? Then no one needs to change their name and we can still let our freak flag fly.
Although that may get in the way of our beltway “meritocracy” and our fucked up concepts of what is acceptable, wherein it is ok to be in favor of bombing the shit out of people if you go to church once a week, but you are an unemployable wretch if you smoke a joint or publicly have an unorthodox thought….
Isn’t it Hugh G. Rection?
As long as I can go by Percy, Van Serious.
What, and stop piss-testing them? Communist!
The kids need to have graffiti tags like we did in high school. What’s the matter with these kids today?
Has anyone mentioned News Corp. giving the Republican Governor’s Association $1 million of free air time on local Fox affliates yet? Oh, sorry, I meant donating $1 million to the RGA war chest. Has anyone mentioned that yet?
I like to get drunk, hit on girls, pictures inevitabely end up on facebook.
I then tell the stories at my workplace, i still get promoted and get paid as long as i bill those clients.
Grow some and stop being a boring stooge, no workplace likes that.
/except maybe hypocritical beltway types.
Can’t people change their identity anyway? How is that an entitlement?
Cheech & Chong won.
@Joseph Nobles: NPR did a story on it. Most of us already knew that News Corps was a branch of the GOP or the other way around.
joe from Lowell
Good luck with that.
I think the name-changing thing is going to catch on.
We have no idea what’s in for us as the internet goes generational. We just know a lot of a crazy shit is going to happen, pretty soon.
We live in interesting times.
Fire was once privately hot. It should also be mentioned that, publically, it is hot, too.
See also Water Being Wet, Sky being Blue, etc.
Amanda in the South Bay
It goes beyond the beltway or the Villagers; isn’t this SOP in many parts of corporate America?
I remember hearing a recruiter from a law firm give a talk, in which she described the background checks their candidates go through-i.e. Internet searches for anything that goes against the grain of a white collar law firm. Its a good way to be permanently turned off by law as a career.
Besides, I’m trans. I know what its like to judge people based not on anything mundane like their education or work experience, but on such really important factors like their appearance, name, what their identification says, etc.
Getting drunk and hitting on girls is socially acceptable. Indeed, it’s one of the essential ways of proving your manliness in our society. We like to claim otherwise, but it’s conformism, not unorthodox.
I going with,
Hugh G. Package
No, I meant here, you guys.
Guys, this is important, you guys! It’s like they’re daring us to say Fairness Doctrine again!
@Mike Kay: What about Dick Armey? That’s the best joke name ever.
This is why evey Naderite should be flogged for saying “there’s no difference btwn Bush and Gore.” As if Gore would have appointed Roberts and Scalito.
What about unorthodox twitter spelling? Are we still allowed to treat them like pariahs?
@beltane: The James Bond movies do rule with “Pussy Glore” and “Ivanna Humpalot”
How about we quit thinking it’s important that everyone has access to pictures of us hitting the bong and flashing our breasts? Fucking facebook…oh, and get off my lawn.
i wanna be called miles o’tool.
because i’m irish.
Darn, it’s like everyone assumes we’re always going to have an internet or something. Like we’re always going to have round-the-clock electricity and satellites and tubez, or stores to buy new e-things at, or trucks to deliver the stuff we keep trying to buy on-line if we could only get on-line more than a couple of times a week. Like a background social media site check is going to matter when you’re looking for someone to clean the floodwater out of your house, or take care of your mom because you can’t afford the deluxe retirement communities that hardly exist anymore anyway.
Not that I’m a pessimist. We may well develop functioning umpteenth generation Kindles that we can implant in our forearms so we can read while we scoot to Mars for a photo safari. But I still want those old-fashioned libraries around, just in case. And not for fuel, so don’t even think about it. When the big holy rumpus comes down, I’m going to be armed (pitchfork) and standing shoulder to shoulder with my heroes, the librarians.
C Nelson Reilly
Insert obligatory “Mike Hunt, has anyone seen Mike Hunt” reference
@beltane: : The James Bond movies do rule with “Puzzy Glore” and “Ivanna Humpalot”
Villago Delenda Est
If you evaluate people based on their performance, most of the Villagers would be down at the local mission, sipping on bitter broth.
The notion that the Ivy League is about “merit” is belied by legacy admissions such as megafuckup and deserting coward George W. Bush.
Whatever, there are pictures of me fellating a gun held up to someone’s crotch, and I still got a pretty good, square job.
Sarah A. Kunt = it’s dutch
@beltane: Yeah, even Dick Trickle laughs at Dick Armey.
Our social antics really put a damper on the theory that we are a “center right” peoples….doesn’t it Mr Schmidt. Perhaps if we stopped judging people as if we really did fit that falsehood.
Two words: Jane Galt.
@Mike Kay: Um, OK. What voting Nadar and saying Bush=Gore has to do with News Corp. giving $1 million to the RGA, I don’t know. But whatever. Thumbs up! :D
@Mike Kay: Sarah De Kunt has more of a European flair.
I have a dream that we will one day live in a nation where we will not be judged by the color of our skin but by the content of our urine. Oh, and our facebook pages.
Can I say that this place is always getting more awesome all the time.
Dibs on Heywood Jablomé.
You’re a conformist. You’re a guy hitting on women. Yawn. If you hit on boys or there’s a dead girl, then that might be more noteworthy.
Any idea what happens to the girls in your pictures? How does that affect their careers? I would guess they don’t get treated in exactly the same “still get promoted as long as they bill the client” manner that you do. The double standard is still alive and well.
Privacy is going to be the next big thing. Not having your entire life on Facebook, Twitter, etc. will be the new mark of coolness. You heard it here first.
You do have a point there. Once this hits, followed by this, photos posted on the former Internet will be the least of anyone’s worry.
I’m a genuine example of a social disease
@evan:The fact you have a good job despite the fact pictures of you doing something ridiculous exist is irrelevant. It’s not going to affect the great majority of people directly, but it’s stupid that this happens at all. As search technology improves instances of people boned by online evidence of something that has nothing to do with their work will increase. The potential scare effect on people who yank what should be harmless stuff from the internet, or, even more idiotic, have to get their friends to do the same, would be more pronounced.
And it serves no cause except for HR robots to get a little jolly out of life.
There is a poster here who could, if he had paid attention to anything I was doing during my college years, embarrass me to no end. Oddly enough, he was living his own life, and I could surmise that he was most likely committing his own embarrassing acts. How is that any different?
From the linked article:
WTF? Google thinks it’s going to be our master? Sure sign of a company past its peak.
@Mike Kay: you assume that Gore would have won re-election in 2004 and would have had the opportunity to appoint two justices. You also assume that a Republican wouldn’t have won in 2008, thus getting to fill two appointments in the last two years.
Here’s a scary thought for you: Gore wins in 2000, his team manages to connect the dots and stops 9/11 from happening. Things go along merrily enough but the country tires of Gore and elects whichever Republican promises the biggest tax cut in 2004, said Republican manages to win re-election in 2008 because the bubble was pushed back, and said Republican gets to appoint 4 Supreme Court Justices.
It is, of course, just as possible that Stevens and/or Souter would have decided to retire during the Gore Administration, but my scenario above is entirely possible.
What exactly are you telling us here, John?
@Joseph Nobles: murdoch wouldn’t hve done this without Citizen’s United decision, which was decided 5-4 by bush appointees. It always stunned my when nader supporters insisted that bush’s appointees to the Court would be no different than Gore’s.
It’s different because neither of you have pictures to prove anything. Absent photos it becomes a “he said, she said” kind of thing, which isn’t nearly as compelling. But ten, fifteen, twenty years from now, today’s teenagers and college students are going to have an internet trail that won’t quit. And not everyone who has access to someone’s Facebook pictures is going to be a real friend. Especially not in a decade or two. Once the photos go up there’s no control.
all I assume is people who said “governor bush’s justices will be no worse the Al Gore’s nominees” are morons.’ all I assume is lefty-populist who say there’s no difference btwn republicans and democrats are idiots.
If we don’t learn from the past, then we’ll end up with more Roberts and Scalitos and people crying, “who did this happen?”
@Violet: of course, if everyone has it, it will become the new norm and no one will care. It’s kind of like the fact that no one even really bothers with the “so, have you ever smoked marijuana?” question
Um, don’t these people figure that employers will find a way to track name changes? It shouldn’t be all that hard.
Also, here’s a very strange story about a very strange set of priorities. How many stories on the BBC website contain sentences like this?
“In Wau, the sewage treatment plant is appropriately placed under the giraffe’s tail.”
It’s not just employment. I use it for checking on students who are missing from class and give me some bullshit excuse, and our recruiters use it for culling potential students.
I blame reality TV. Everyone now feels compelled to have pictures of themselves doing stupid shit available for the world to see, just like those morons on the Bachelor. As opposed to being notable for something like a published article, or a work of art, or something that is actually produced through talent and work. I guess I’m saying the blogs are to blame.
Saw the 90th anniversary of the 19th amendment link on google front page. So I say, “okay google, I’ll take you up on this…” click it, and the first video link is titled:
“Repeal the 19th Amendment”
It really says something about the current conservative movement that I sincerely cannot tell if this is supposed to be a parody of their thinking or not.
Ohhhhhh. Nah, I’m going to stick with hating on News Corp. instead of Naderites. Probably a more productive use of my time. Probably.
Okay, if you insist!
Actually, I can’t recall the source at the moment, but I think it’s been noted elsewhere that there has been a Facebook effect on workplace relations – namely, people are getting rather inured to seeing their interns show up online with those ubiquitous red plastic cups full of Booze of Questionable Quality. Or, conversely, their boss making odd faces for the camera whilst flushed a deep raspberry red.
When everybody is having moments of silliness end up on the public domain, how do you NOT hire somebody with a picture from college of them with that ubiquitous red plastic cup of Booze of Questionable Quality in hand? It’s almost kind of refreshing.
But if you have to take a drug test prior to starting a job and it shows you’ve been smoking weed, you very likely may not get the job. Ditto if you get selected for a random drug test while employed. You may get put on probation and have to go to mandatory drug counseling or you may just lose your job.
People may not ask, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t consequences.
@Steve: Poe’s Law, we hardly knew ye.
A picture where the person looks vaguely sloshed and is holding a plastic cup that most likely contains an alcoholic beverage isn’t that big a deal, especially if the person was in college at the time.
But if the person in the photo is female and is partially undressed or shown in a compromising position, or the person is male and is shown doing something derogatory to women, or if person of either gender is shown doing something racist or otherwise offensive or illegal (smoking pot for instance), then that’s where the problems start.
People do dumb stuff when they’re young and it used to be you could do it, there wasn’t any proof and you could move on. Now someone probably has a photo or video and is uploading to Facebook immediately.
@Steve: Who the hell is that guy? His voice really grates. I left it playing while I was doing something else and hilariously near the end you can tell that someone else is in the house/apartment/room and bangs a pot in a sink and then turns on the water. Reminds me of public access cable.
always trying to one-up us
@Violet: one of my favorite songs is Down on Me by Janis Joplin. There is a version that is a demo, done at an apartment, while she was recording it, someone was writing a term paper on an old typewriter and you can hear it in the background of the track. It adds a very cool element to the song.
ETA: not sure what that has to do with anything, but one reminded me of the other, this is how my brain works. It is a scary place sometimes.
I get the point of Facebook and all that, but as a data guy, I don’t see the upside of broadcasting myself all over the universe. Yeah, it’d be nice to connect with people, but I can’t help but think that in the end I’d regret it all.
Oh, and in recognition of combat troops leaving Iraq, I’d like to direct people to my favorite picture of Obama.
@Martin: I’m only considering joining Facebook for the exclusive purpose of keeping in touch with old co-workers (it was a bad job but that wasn’t due to most of the folks there). Otherwise I have zero issue for it. And I’m only joining very reluctantly. And what goes up will be extremely limited information. My business is mine unless I choose to let others know.
The only remotely analogous thing to “Facebook” back in the late 1960s/early 70s when I was in college was a small collection of Polaroid pictures of spontaneous fun (potentially embarrassing) scenes of people, particularly at parties many people kept around and showed to selected other people. With Polaroid pictures, unlike regular film pictures, you didn’t have to take them to be developed (exposing whatever was on those pics to the potentially dangerous voyeurism of whomever wound up developing them for you at some photo shop if there was some nakedness, sexuality or arguable perversion depicted). It was both a bug (if you wanted to duplicate it) and a feature (if you didn’t ever want that to happen) that Polaroid pictures left no negatives from which more copies could be made. This was before the age of inexpensive scanners and photocopying, and especially digital cameras.
Fortunately, I managed to come into possession of the only truly colossally embarrassing Polaroid photo of myself taken while I was very drunk one Friday night freshman year – and I destroyed it.
I can honor your dibs if I can claim Craven Morehead!
I call dibs on Selah V. Mahchare. V for Victoria, of course.
Also, Polaroids degrade. Last time I looked at an “embarrassing” Polaroid from the early 1980s, you could just about tell that the figure in the middle was human & probably male, but a brisk argument ensued as to which of several potential candidates it might have been.
I know someone who did all her fanzine work on Ditto sheets, because she knew they’d fade away long before any historians could scavenge them for “clues” to her history.
In the immortal words of George W. Bush, when I was young and dumb, I was young and dumb. Fortunately, that was years before the advent of the internet and social networking sites. Anything embarrassing about my behavior in college would have to be passed on via word of mouth. And I would deny it.
On the other hand, I have two college age kids, and both seem to feel the need to record far too much of their lives on Facebook. There have been a number of times I’ve had to insist that they untag pictures of themselves. Especially my son. The picture that a friend put up of him last year, after a football game, comes to mind. He was passed out on the pavement of a parking lot, lying in a pool of vomit. I figured that was one that probably didn’t need to follow him through life. We also had a very long talk about responsible drinking after I saw that one.
I’m quite sure that will be sufficient. Word to the wise, and all that. Good work Mom!
Excellent! I have to give a h/t for mine to Jon Stewart’s America book. If I remember correctly, Heywood was (allegedly) one of the students who had been assigned the textbook.
LQTM (laughing quietly to myself) because Craven Morehead is such a perfect and plausible British name. Outside of the context of this thread, it would take quite a while for the “Wait–what?!” reaction to set in. Kudos.
I’m surprised at Eric Schmidt’s lack of foresight. For those who worry about this, changing your name will not provide protection much longer.
Face recognition technology has already advanced to the point where a better-than-random-chance version easily runs inside a consumer software product (iPhoto). How long before you have to get extensive cosmetic surgery instead of a name change? (And by extensive I mean REALLY extensive, as in, cracking all the skull bones to change the distance between your eyes.)
I’m just glad my writing career fizzled out before the internet really took off. I have some embarrassing syntax in my past, as well as questionable musical judgment.
I’m applying for a new job, so I self-Googled last night and got church announcements and goofy “Celebrity Trivia!” hits related to my IMDB listing (a bit part I played in a Z-grade flick 15 years ago).
As to silly names, when I was The Voice of Fan Fair, someone tried to get me to announce the availability of a “Mike Hunt” to sign autographs. Then I took a lunch break, and my replacement launched The Great Willie Nelson Scare of 1984.
I am grateful to this day that there were no injuries.
LMAO! I couldn’t have put better myself! You a funny guy!
If it’s not Amanda Huginkiss, it’s not worth having.
I believe Ivana Humpalot is from Austin Powers, not the James Bond movies.
I have no idea what Schmidt is talking about. Depending on your locality, you can already change your name pretty easily. I changed my name for a fifty dollar filing fee, a small amount of paperwork and a five second meeting with a probate judge.
@Yutsano: Ahem. And me. Dumbass. Hiya! Still up?
FB is what you make it. I don’t think it needs to be singled out particularly from the whole electronic media. Kids need to learn in general that what’s on the web stays on the web. My best friend is the director of an alternative school for at-risk youth, and they emphasize that there. But, changing your name won’t do a damn thing to protect you if that is what you’re trying to do.
Methinks ‘Hugh G. Rection’ rolls off the tongue easier.
The idea that you can’t have a life outside of work, that to succeed in life you have to subordinate EVERYTHING to your employer…argh. WTF, are we slaves again? You know when you can concern yourself with what I do? When I’m actually AT WORK, and you are PAYING me to be there. Outside of that…fuck off, you don’t own me.
As for fake names, make mine “Jack Mehoff”.
Went to some wild parties in college, hell threw some wild parties – friend, before facebook, had a picture on his website of him drinking from one of those red cups, wearing a tuxedo top and lingerie bottoms – got hired at AOL.
Yes they found the photo (among others, equally incriminating) he didn’t hide, he didn’t prevaricate, I believe his response was, “It was one hell of a night.”
I fully agree with above – as more and more gets published, other than for certain jobs (i.e., clearances where requirements can be mandated by Congress, Thanks you Mr. Kyl for that fuckin’ Amendment) it’ll get washed in the noise. I’m just waiting for the SF-86 to start asking for internet handles.
“but you are an unemployable wretch if you smoke a joint or publicly have an unorthodox thought….”
And may I add that a “functioning” alcoholic can get drunk every night, go home and beat up the wife and kids, and no one is the wiser when he/she shows up for work the next morning.
@freelancer (itouch): I want to be Edmund Blackadder.
@Joseph Nobles: I want to know how much of Rupert’s money will go to Rick Lazio to piss away in New York.
@beltane: Better than Sillius Sodus or Biggus Dickus?
It’s already possible to change one’s name. It’s not particularly easy and probably varies from one state or country to another, but where I used to live you just had to make a court date and pay a minor fee, say something like $50.
Also, I’d really like some actual data on the conventional wisdom that embarrassing pictures are problems for people qua employees, rather than accepting it just because “everyone knows”. Necessary caveats: sure, in a crappy job market every conceivable disadvantage is worth fretting over, and sure, I’m sure extreme cases (like pictures of someone shooting up heroin, or sex acts when the potential employer is necessarily conservative and image-conscious) really would be serious problems. In the typical case of being passed-out drunk or smoking what’s probably pot but there’s a reasonable doubt or making out with someone in a bar, though, how often does that actually create a problem at work or for getting a job?
As for Google, I recently bought a Droid. My phone’s contract was up, my current phone was middle-of-the-road-at-best when I bought it two years ago and it’s been banged up since then, and the Droid was the coolest-looking option at the local Verizon shop. After two days with this, I’m thinking Google can take over my life for all I care as long as it does it through the awesome phone in my pocket. Whenever I turn it on or off it says “droid” in a sci-fi-esque voice! It’s like I’m living in Sam Delany’s Nova!
@Violet: It’s even worse if you’re a teacher. I’ve read at least six stories in the last year detailing teachers getting fired or almost fired for postings, from bikini pictures to a picture of a woman holding a glass of wine at a bachelorette party.
Oh, did I mention this seems to happen to women more than men? Go figure. (And no, it’s probably not just because there are more women in the profession.)
I should note that the idiots who post stuff about their students’ confidential information get no sympathy from me here, nor the ones who actually post pictures of themselves partaking in illegal activities.
Isn’t it “Hugh G. Rection, ” or is that name already taken?
Edit– well shit, I guess I should have looked at the first comment at least before cracking wise.
@AkaDad: As was Alotta Fachina.
I wonder if there is any money in becoming an expert at rehabbing the contents of peoples’ Facebooks. Just because fashion magazine editors keep throwing ridiculous composite covers at us, and purveying dumb ads in which the model has been obviously and clumsily enthinified doesn’t mean all re-editing has to be stupid.
Surely you could alter your own Facebook photo by removing the pool of vomit, changing the asphalt parking lot into a sandy beach, and placing a sombrero on your face. Yes, there is the way-back machine, but still, you’ve introduced reasonable doubt. Maybe you were resting on a beach and some depraved geek swapped you into a degrading, disgusting fake parking lot. So: beach v. parking lot, parking lot vs. beach. Reasonable doubt.
This depends entirely on being able to mess with the photo in a massively more skillful way than your average Ralph Lauren or Elle magazine photo manipulator seems to be able to do.
Anyway, I signed up for Facebook for a week or two, then I ignored it for months, and then I deleted it. I began to imagine that possibly there would be consequences, and of course, Facebook would squash me like a bug. I’d never work again. Ooh! Maybe as an extra in horror movies.