Paris Brown, forced to resign from her employment as Britain’s first youth police commissioner, will be remembered for the added dubious distinction of making choice remarks on Twitter in what were still her formative years. Apparently. Although the word on the “street” is that quite a few choice remarks were made in the last 6 months and not just between the ages of 14 and 16. But what of it and what can the rest of us learn from the story?
An obvious conclusion is not to write anything that is, or could be construed as, confrontational on a social network. That is simplistic enough solution for anyone over the age of 40 but what of the population below this age? The “youth of today”, consider the Social Networks a place to dump a plethora of inane remarks for the legions of “friends” to respond to in an equally if not superior example of banality. I’m not going to defend any remarks that are made on Twitter or Facebook, but my instinct coupled with a little introspective consideration suggest that people in glass houses should not throw stones as only the truly righteous will have no skeletons in the closet.
Every generation is the same, there is nothing new under the sun, but the difference for those of us old enough to remember the days before the commercial internet, and this should be seen as pre 1990, will remember that you could say what you wanted (free speech) within reason, without running the risk of losing your job or having your collar felt by the police. As a general rule of thumb teenagers are reckless, feckless beings. Or are they just full of the spirit of youth, brimming with carefree abandon? I would say it’s both. In the instance of Paris, if you scrape past the broad brush of the media and look at the remarks they could be considered zeitgeist generalisations, a crass stereo typical identifier labelling by a kid. She was wrong but in a realm where only a peer group is invited, sometimes the parents can be considered caught sleeping on the job.
But could she prove to be the start of a pivotal moment in the history of social networking? As someone that has learnt from taking the hard path, she would do well to take the blows, stand tall, and turn her lesson into one that can be shared for the common good. She made a mistake, and she should now be allowed to make amends as ambassador for reasonable, acceptable behaviour.
For the rest of us, we should ingest the lesson quickly, or the forfeit could be equally catastrophic for career aspirations. There are ways for everyone to protect themselves from scrutiny, and if your subconscious can not be trusted (a word to the wise – it can’t), then maybe you should consider an exercise in pertinency and perform a social network purge?
Twitter and Facebook are seen as a visible statement of consciousness by a generation. A place where controversy is the king maker, audacity a crown prince but in every court there is a fool, and in the land of the blind the one eyed girl could be Queen.