Mathew Ingram writes about this for Giga today. A journalist writing an article for a sports magazine uncovered highly sensitive and personal information about his subject (Dr. V). He published it, it went viral, and Dr. V committed suicide.
What can we learn from this? Privacy, as it has been understood over the last century — the right to be left alone — is not what it was. With modern digital networks, any time we leave our homes (even if we only do it in a digital manner by using the web) we leave behind a larger than ever slice of privacy expectations. And the possibility that stories may go viral, multiplies the risk that private stuff can become very, very public. Whether this is good or bad, it is just a reality of modern life. And we are not likely to be able to stuff this genie back in the bottle.
What can we do about it? A while ago, Fred Wilson proposed that we all start cultivating a public personae and using that personae aggressively defend ourselves when we bump up against offensive and inaccurate references. To fight back. Well, this pre-supposes a level of skills in conflict management that many of us do not have.
We may want to think about an upgrade.