PR guy Peter Shankman was riding the train to some business-related destination when another man sat across from him, pulled out a cell phone and said “Apologies in advance, I talk a lot.”
Insert grimace here, right? Immediately don iPod/noise-cancelling headphones, and rue the advent of technology, right?
Shankman went further.
He could hear from the man’s constant chatter that he was conducting sensitive business on the phone, so Shankman decided that an object lesson was in order.
I happened to see Shankman’s tweet, and out of curiosity (I admit, I knew this event had “Every Dot Connects blog post” written all over it) I watched the stream for awhile until it was cut off, including the guy yakking away to his lawyer about business information.
The instructive part of this drill was the comments.Â When I logged on to Yahoo LIVE, about 50 people were listening to and watching Mr. Oblivious Babbling Businessman.Â They were researching madly and posting….
His LinkedIn profile, including an aside that he only had two connections.
His ZoomInfo page.
His work phone number.
It was easy to do since the guy spoke fairly clearly and with plenty of detail. Chat participants also took screenshots of Mr. OBB and sent them to Shankman’s email account, for use in a future post, no doubt.
Chat members worried when the stream stopped and the screen went red (one wrote, “….the guy jumped him [meaning jumped Shankman] and the camera fell in a pool of blood, it appears.”)
It was the “definition of a train wreck” typed another online chat observer.
This is why so many people and companies freak out about the Web, and they SHOULD if they’re just now figuring out that everyone is a potential recorder/journalist, and laptops have Webcams (so if a laptop is facing you, it might behoove you to consider whether you’re being livestreamed.)
- It is not new that one should not conduct private business in public places, especially about legal issues.
- It is not new that it is rude to talk and talk and talk on your cell phone in close, crowded public places.
What IS new is the ability of technology to instantly spread your foibles worldwide, if someone equipped with that technology chooses to do so.
In a perfect world, none of us would do stupid, rude things. It is not a perfect world, of course, and we aren’t going to stuff that livestream back into the pre-Web bottle, so people and companies had better understand….
- What this technology can do (meaning all the way up through the C-suite needs to understand what technology can do, not just “those IT guys”) and
- What it means to the never-a-good-idea of sweeping errors under the rug. You can run but you cannot hide.
I’m sure Shankman will get an earful about this incident, but I’ll submit this….he will get in a lot less trouble for doing it than Mr. Oblivious Babbling Businessman will get when that train pulls in and he goes to his office.
What do you think, readers? Was Shankman’s shot fair or foul?