Several years ago, in one of my former life work stints, I looked up from some mind-numbing spreadsheet to see my very distinguished colleague Eduardo standing in front of me, politely trying to interrupt in order to ask a question.
Eduardo grew up speaking Castilian Spanish among the highly cultured Mexican elite. Everything about this man oozed proper and appropriate. So, as he stood in front of me, I was perplexed as to what I should do next.
He spoke to me, but I heard nothing. I couldn’t take my eyes off the shirt-tail protruding through the open zipper of his perfectly-pressed Georgio Armani suit. I forced myself to look away, engage in eye contact, anything but stare.
I wanted to say, “Hey, Eduardo. Don’t look now, but … XYZ, PDQ!” (For those of you who might have a maturity level above the 6th grade, that translates into “Examine Your Zipper… Pretty Darn Quick.”)
But, if I told him, he would be forever embarrassed and humiliated in my presence. If I didn’t tell him, he would walk around the office parading the forgotten zip to everyone on the floor … even more embarrassment for this polite gentleman. The quandary got the best of me. I quickly concluded our conversation then ran to another colleague and asked him to share the news.
Fast forward to last week, my friend told me about a similar problem as she sat in a bar restaurant and watched her cousin karaoke an alcohol-induced, expletive laden rendition of “You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feelin’”. Unbeknownst to him, the performance was iPhone-filmed and downloaded for all to see on Facebook.
Her dilemma? Do I step in? Do I stop him from completely making a fool of himself? Does he get that his performance will be available for the world to see… even his children when they get old enough to surf the web? She wanted, like me, to send a “PDQ” message. This time preceded by the letters, “FBT” (translated: “Facebook Test”).
“FBT” is a message that needs to be delivered to someone who has placed themselves in a questionable situation, who might be in the wrong place at the wrong time, who might have told their parents one thing and be doing another, who might be sharing intimate information without considering the ramification, who… the list goes on.
Actually, it could be the test for lots of our decisions these days.
- “Meet at Joe’s. His folks are out of town and the beer is flowing.” FBT – Those sneaky teens forget to think past the moment, Not too smart considering the under-aged legal issue … and that Suzy Q has party pic-ed the entire gathering on her Home Page.
- “It’s a business trip for some. Why not _______ (fill in the blank)?” Ooops, FBT. Who knew that work colleague snapped a few photos and shared the fun?
… not only for the Y Generation who live their lives through Facebook, but also for me.
- “We’re running late. Who cares if I wear my pajamas to take my kids to school?” Uhmmm.. “FBT” – I don’t think I’d be too hip on that posting.
Case in point, just the other day a mom hopped onto her kids account to see one of his friend’s mid-week 1 a.m. posts: “Spooning with MaryJane” Does he even get what he’s saying?!… and who’s reading it?! Nothing good can come from a potentially hormonally-induced judgement-impaired teen boy “spooning” with an inevitably-insecure teen girl. Now he’s broadcasted the event for the entire world to know. So much for that girl’s reputation… and much more.
WWJD bracelets grabbed the attention of the masses a few years ago, acting as a nice sieve through which to sift potential actions. How interesting that we have within our midst another straining mechanism. This time it isn’t seemingly figurative. It’s reality has sunk many a stomach.
People might think they can stay safe in the “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” strategy. Not anymore. Rest assured, whatever you’re doing is on Facebook. You might not be posting it, but someone else is.
So, let’s consider for a moment (better yet, get your kids to consider) the Facebook Test (FBT) before acting. What you do today just might be preserved for posterity’s sake many years to come.
Hmmm…. Maybe I should avoid my p.j. carpool runs J
Thanks for walking the road with me.