Dear teenagers and young adults who have been shocked by this article, and who did not fail to let me know, I owe you an apology.
Indeed, I wrote without considering the two absolute truths of social networks, namely:
1. In front of a (webcam, smartphone, video) camera connected to the Internet (or not), you may expose yourself (literally or figuratively).
The results can range from the topless picture (with a duck face, optionally) to the sextape - for the boldest among them, not to mention the full disclosure of the finest details of their personal life.
But hey, the most important thing is to get "likes", "retweets" and "+1s".
I know that some of you have fallen into the illusion that their degree of self-exposure (in every sense of the word) is proportional to their acceptance in one or more social circles.
Anyway, I cannot understand it, but it's your life and you may do what you want. Yes, I am among those who think that, in theory, everyone is free to do what they want in their spare time.
It goes without saying that you can publish whatever you want on the social networks associated with your name.
As a Web Consultant, I could explain to you that before hiring or recruiting you, employers will track your online activities on Google. But I guess you would reply: "Anyway, I would be a (web/social) entrepreneur. To hell with the bosses". Then you would be forgetting that working under the orders of a boss is a good way to acquire personal discipline - i.e. getting up in the morning, arriving on time, learning management by objectives and results, learning to save money - which separates professional entrepreneurs from the rest, but I'd digress.
I could tell you that common sense would compel any sensible person to avoid leaving compromising traces on the Internet. But it seems that the trend these days is to thoroughly reveal every nook and cranny of one's life on the Internet.
I therefore prefer to let you live in your wonderful world, where all actions are inconsequential. Especially when you take into account the second absolute truth of the web:
2. You know all your virtual friends and you can easily distinguish between your real friends, all of the jealous folks, and the perverts, or other individuals in need of thrills and sensational actions, as well as the bloggers/youtubers/scavengers looking for a buzz to promote their web platforms.
Well, I know it may be surprising, but all those people you have never met, and who subscribe to content updates that you publish here and there on the web might not be all trustworthy.
Indeed, many of the people described above are particularly inclined to share the privacy of others via Facebook, Bluetooth, unauthorized DVDs and any other means available.
But, you're not worried about that, since you personally know every single one of your 1,200 followers on Twitter and 3,400 friends on Facebook, right? It's not like any of them could publish your twerk video on some shady websites, obviously...
So, dear teens and young adults living in a wonderful world where you can put everything and absolutely anything online for any reason, such as:
To draw attention to oneself,
To please a boyfriend/girlfriend,
Or, and I quote, "It's my body, my private life and I do whatever I want."
Do as you wish.
Do not listen to this grumpy old blogger... He does not even have any friends on Facebook.
And then it's not like the reality will eventually come and bite you once you turn 25 and you would spend your days erasing any detrimental content that might affect you, while you would then be interested in LinkedIn and Viadeo.
Until then, I wish you all a good time on the Internet.
[Translated from a contribution by Jean-Luc Houedanou]