On Monday, June 6, Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) admitted to sending a lewd picture of himself to a woman in Seattle, and of engaging in similar virtual trysts over a three-year period with other women. Via TPM.
By now most of us have heard about the Anthony Weiner political scandal, yet another person to prove to the public he is incredibly human and stupid. The landscape is littered with politician’s who have made less then wise choices in their private lives. What distinguishes this particular scandal is that happened primarily through social media. Here is a link for the Anthony Weiner timeline.
May 27: A photograph showing a man’s crotch is sent to a young woman from the Twitter account of Anthony Weiner. It is quickly deleted and in a subsequent tweet Mr Weiner jokes: “Tivo shot. FB hacked. Is my blender gonna attack me next? #TheToasterIsVeryLoyal.”
First things first, Anthony Weiner seemed to forget that social media is SOCIAL and therefore what you post, who you follow and what you say in public and privately are, in essence, available for all to see. It seems, from many accounts, that Rep. Weiner hit the wrong button and sent out a private message to the public. He took it down almost immediately, but it was already too late. It was viewed, and copied by someone who had watched the representative’s account, from there things go downhill quickly.
Despite the implications of telling the truth, it would have served Mr. Weiner well to come clean about what had happened. Instead he used his Twitter account to solicit sympathy from his followers that he had been hacked and was the victim of Andrew Breitbart. Given Breitbart’s history of slicing and dicing videos it was easy for his followers to side with the representative and support him. At this point, Weiner, not only betrays his wife, constituents, but the trust of those who followed him on social media, bringing everyone into his own web of deception and denial of the facts.
The discussion of the morals of our politicians is best left to other writers. Anthony Weiner is not the worst of the lot of political betrayers. He is the first to be uncovered, who used social media in ways that proved to be a bit unsavory. I am sure he will not be the last. Right now accounts are being cleaned and scrubbed, while other people are laughing thinking they could not be discovered.
This becomes a cautionary tale of how our private and public lives are colliding in new and profound ways. Transparency is a great concept, but if you are not ready to reveal your peccadilloes to a eager audience, then think twice or three times how you are using social media. Whether right or wrong our Facebook and Twitter profiles are being viewed, and we are being judged by the contents. Personally, I think if you want to drink like a sailor after hours, that is your business, and the occasional shot of you in a stupor should not invalidate your good work. I would refrain from sending the naked private parts shots to your beloved. As we have now learned pressing the wrong button could be a career killer.