Guilt By Association / Social Media Connections

As we move forward into 2010, Guilt By Association is going to become a major issue. This year, the civilians found out about Twitter and flooded it with new connections. Sites like Facebook have seen dramatic increases in membership, bringing increases in connections and shared media. If you’re involved in “the game”, sooner or later, you’re going to be associated with someone controversial either on a local scale or an international scale. When/if that time comes, you’re going to have to decide how you’re going to deal with people’s new perception of you based on something you had nothing to do with, whatsoever.

I Wasn’t Even There! :/

TMZ reports that Tiger Woods’ caddie caught beef from his wife behind this 10-chick fiasco, even though the caddie hasn’t even been MENTIONED this whole time since the car crash. This could be for several reasons. It could be “Birds of a feather flock together” reasoning, where she feels that only people who agree with Tiger’s behavior spend time together. It could be that she feels he enabled Tiger to get raps behind his wife’s back. It could be that she feels he was receiving benefits from the trickle-down chicks that didn’t get to hook up with Tiger. It could be that she thought he knew about all the extra chicks and didn’t share that information with her [which, a) he’s saying he didn’t know about because he doesn’t hang out with Tiger other than when he’s competing, and b) it’s none of her *GOT*-DAMNED business anyway, which is something Larry David should have learned like three seasons ago! hahaha]. It could be that she’s getting pressure from HER friends to exert some sort of influence over her husband to get back at Tiger…… Whatever it is, because he happened to be “the man next to the man”, dude caught grief from his wife due to Guilt By Association.

Cliques & “Transparency”

I spoke about this issue a little over a year ago, when I was experiencing fallout from some NYC Social Media community infighting. I know so many people that invariably, I’m going to know people that consider themselves rivals or enemies. I also know people who were friends or even DATING when I met them and now they’re either not speaking to each other or they’re “Frenemies” at best. That’s not my problem.. However, it seeps in every now and then, when I interact IRL with someone that knows I’m a friend of their enemy and decides to bring that sourness to our personal relationship.

The same thing happens with ideas. This is why transparency is mostly a farce, as I was discussing with my friends Peter & Michele one evening. Everybody knows what the accepted opinions are, so they either say they agree with those opinions or they keep their ideas to themselves. That’s NOT transparency. ๐Ÿ™‚ That’s being as transparent as you can AFFORD to be. So even writing my blog, I get people catchin’ feelin’s and feeling like The Kid’s a controversial character merely for telling more of the truth than most people will tell you. It’s not A LOT of people, as evidenced by my 1,776 Facebook Friends and 991 pictures on Facebook, which are probably 90% of me with AT LEAST one other person, but every once in a blue, I get that “There goes that guy that calls chicks ‘CHICKS’ :/” vibe! ๐Ÿ˜€

Bad For Business

Bill CammackI had a couple of Guilt By Association situations this year, myself..

One friend of mine supposedly said some stuff she shouldn’t have said (I wasn’t there, so I don’t know what actually happened in order to form an opinion of the situation).

Another friend of mine made this raunchy, corny, unfunny video with some dude that she got TOTALLY TRASHED for in her comment section before she took the video down entirely.

The first response to situations like this is “EEK!!! :O”. The next response is “whatchagonnado? \o/”. I’m not going to enact REVISIONIST HISTORY (a.k.a. Historical Revisionism or Negationism) and try to act *NOW* like I wasn’t friends with them IN THE PAST. It was definitely suggested to me “for business reasons”, but, sorry.. It’s all in the game. I do business to get money. I hang out with my friends to enjoy the one life I’m going to have. I’m not going to systematically remove and erase friends of mine as they get caught up in situations or do stupid or ill-advised things. If I have to drive a truck, that’s what I’m gonna do (not that that could ever happen.. I’m just sayin’! ๐Ÿ˜€ hahaha).

On top of that, you look like an IDIOT because everybody already knows who you hang out with. By the time someone screws up, it’s already too late. You can try to sweep them under the rug, but you’re still going to be standing there with the broom and dustpan in your hands.

Lots of people don’t have the same luxury that I have of being a freelancer and not beholding to any one client, thus needing to hide my opinions from people lest I lose my job. They also don’t have the luxury that every time I lose one Facebook friend I gain at least twenty. Therefore, they have to minimize their Guilt By Association in order to assure that they continue forward progression in the rat race.

If that’s the case for you, you might want to carefully consider your Social Media connections for this new year. You might decide to craft your connections for ease of Damage Control instead of openness to the community. You might decide to make your friends list on Facebook look like your business list on Linkedin. You might decide to only friend people you know and trust IRL (in real life). You might decide to do a fan page instead of a regular page and act like everyone has a connection to you, but you have no connection to them.

Regardless of what you select, I just saw an ad about how the new iPod Nano records video. Add this to the fact that my gPhone not only records video but will stream live to the internet via Qik and that iPhones will stream live to the internet via Ustream and there are all other sorts of photo and video options and in a minute, EVERYONE will be making media whether you’re aware of it or not. This means that your actual ACTIONS are going to have to be congruent with what you’d like to project to the world. If you don’t want people to think that you curse (which I *do* IRL, but don’t in print, unless I need to in order to make my point), then don’t curse in public while some fool’s live-streaming the conference you’re at from his iPhone. ๐Ÿ˜€ If you don’t want people to think you hang out with a lot of chicks, don’t hang out with a lot of chicks.

Welcome To The Show! ๐Ÿ˜€

What Tiger Woods found out this year, you will find out next year. It’s becoming increasingly tough to craft your own image with zero input from outside sources. Back in the day, you could leave voice messages for your side-piece and they’d never see the light of day. NOW?.. That same gal’s using your message as a ringtone on her cell phone. Back in the day, there WAS no such thing as text messaging or Facebook pictures or Twitter… haha All you need is for someone to type “Hangin’ at the bar with @BillCammack” when I called in sick that day (Ah-CHOO!, Ah-CHOO!) ๐Ÿ˜€ I *just* watched a video where some kid got in trouble for posting a picture on the internet of himself with a beer can in his hand when he wasn’t supposed to be drinking. ๐Ÿ™‚

On a separate but related topic, because of things like Google Profiles, it’s becoming increasingly obvious who said what. The days of screen names like Jazzy0123 instead of “Bill Cammack” or at least “BillCammack” are over. Facebook Connect, Google Friend Connect, Disqus and OpenID are being used more and more, to the point that eventually, if you want to run your mouth about something, you’re going to have to own your words. Everything you type is going to be added to your Online Presence resume. Google’s even indexing real-time status updates from Twitter at this point….

So what’s your 2010 plan as far as Social Media connections? I’m already too far gone with thousands of “Friends” on several sites. I’m gonna have to continue to hide in plain sight, with my excuse being “I know literally HUNDREDS of people.. *SOMEBODY’S* gonna do something stupid now and then. \o/” There’s nothing much I can do about that. If you’re just starting out with Social Media, however, you have the opportunity to select how you build your roster. You can build it for business, build it from people you already know personally, build it of people that you want to be fans of yours because you’re a musician or an actor…

Just be prepared! ๐Ÿ˜€ because sooner or later, *YOU’RE* gonna be “the man (or woman) next to the man”, and YOU’RE gonna get pressured by someone over something someone associated to you has been accused of doing, and then you’re gonna have to decide for yourself whether to fold to that pressure and disassociate yourself from the accused or stand on your own two and tell the nosey party to MIND. THEIR. *******. BUSINESS!!! ๐Ÿ˜€

~ Bill Cammack | @BillCammack

Join the Conversation


  1. excellent advice, as usual, Bill!

    incidentally, you’ve described my definition of freedom: “…your actual ACTIONS are going to have to be congruent with what youรขโ‚ฌโ„ขd like to project to the world…”

    It’s not always completely possible, as you noted. But I think it’s a wonderful way to live.

    1. Thanks, Terri.. and agreed. ๐Ÿ™‚

      The thing is, when you post stuff to the net, you have to be cool with it if your boss or your GRANDMOTHER sees it. If you’re not, don’t post it, because there’s no telling where this stuff goes.

      At this point, LOTS of people are creating media and posting it and the world’s not as “large” as we think it is. I posted a picture with recent Social Media friend of mine and then a HIGH SCHOOL friend of mine asks me how I know her and it turns out that he used to be HER BOSS! :O I posted a pic with a different gal and then ran into her sister at a party who was telling me what THEIR MOTHER thought of the picture!!! :O

      Needless to say, there are lots of times I go out and don’t make any media AT ALL! ๐Ÿ˜‰ .. but that doesn’t mean that the other million or so Manhattanites around us weren’t snapping pictures and taking video. The best thing to do in public is “Act As If” and be yourself.

      That’s also one of the reasons I type “chicks” so much. You’re gonna hear it A LOT if we hang out IRL, so you’d best ta get used to it ahead of time in print! ๐Ÿ˜€

      1. ‘…be yourself…’, I just laughed out loud at that one! it could be mostly in the AA community, but whenever I was acting up (which, believe or not was often, my friend;-), my Dad (from Augusta, GA) would say it warningly, twice:

        ‘…now, you be yourself, be yourself…” as if he assumed, bless him, that my ‘self’ would act better than that and just needed a reminder!

        1. hahaha That’s a good one, Terri! ๐Ÿ˜€

          I didn’t get any such reminders! ๐Ÿ˜€ haha I was told how it was supposed to be and then I either followed the rules, didn’t follow the rules and got away with it or didn’t follow the rules, got caught and got “what for”! ๐Ÿ˜€

  2. Great piece, Bill…

    I’m having some issues on this topic.

    Right now, on facebook, I’m casting as wide a net as possible to be sure to touch as many potential clients as possible and to be up to speed on developments in the disc dog community.

    I also am pretty seriously anti-Establishment. So far, I’ve been quite nonpartisan, which is no stretch for my Socialist bent, but I posted this video:
    which some people are most likely not going to like.

    I’m quite passionate about civics and want to share that with people in a personal way, but the fallout from stuff is a bit unnerving.

    anyway, great post!

    1. Thanks, Ron. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Actually, what you bring up needs to be its own blog post. I’ve put it on my list of things to write about soon and will let you know when that happens.

      As you can tell, I have the exact same issue. I have several personal brands, so the question becomes should I have one website or several? I like having *one*, but what happens is that I end up mixing content together across different ideas. I might do a video editing post. I might do a dating post. I might do a Social Media post. I might do a gym post. My “brand” ends up being whatever I feel like outputting, which necessarily dilutes all of my brands at the same time.

      The current “difference” between you and I is that I blog almost entirely for self-expression. I like to write. My friends like to read what I write and we laugh about it over brews. Now that I’ve recognized it for what it is, I’m WAAAAAY more interested in my “Bill The Socialite” brand than my “Bill The Video Editor” brand. I edit video to get money. I hang out because that’s my real life, so that brand has naturally overshadowed all the rest and it turns out that that’s the way I like it. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Having said that, there are still LOTS of topics I won’t blog about or even talk about IRL. It’s not because I don’t have opinions on the topics, but because nothing good is going to come out of the conversation. If I don’t bring it up, I still know what I know and people treat me differently because they don’t know what my opinions are on those topics. Similar to Tiger Woods, people will treat you as status quo until you tell or show them why they should treat you otherwise.

      So I think it all comes down to what you want to project about yourself, to whom, and what effect you’re attempting to achieve. I don’t know that your dog community is interested in your anti-establishment views, BECAUSE it’s not an “anti-establishment” community. See what I mean? So while you’re expressing yourself authentically, you might be expressing yourself to the wrong people.

      My dating blog, for instance.. I’ve run into a grand total of three people in four years that were willing to tell me to my face, IRL that they didn’t like whatever about my blog. I don’t even remember the third situation, but the other two people felt differently after I asked them what they didn’t like and then we discussed it rationally and intelligently. It’s easy for context to be lost when you translate your thoughts to print and then that’s translated into thoughts in someone else’s head. What might appear to be me saying “I think women in general are stupid” may actually be me saying “Women would be smarter if they shunned their brainwashing and thought for themselves” or “Women allow emotions to cloud their abilities to think properly and accurately”.

      There are people that read my blog and think I’m anti-female, when the people who have hung out with me for more than the last DECADE know that if I’m not hanging out with a female, I’m probably not hanging out AT ALL. ๐Ÿ˜€ I would guess that 85% of my daily interactions are done with females, if not more than that.

      One example of the “fallout” situation that you bring up is the Michael Vick situation. I’m from New York City. People train their dogs here to be a defense system. They don’t have to carry guns because they’ve trained their dogs to make it happen on command if someone bothers them. They train their dogs with tires, bricks, whatever.

      So my viewpoint is different from people who only understand dogs as fluffy pets. It’s absolutely incredible to them that a guy would make two dogs fight each other. It doesn’t compute. So, while, personally, the concept is no big deal to me, a great percentage of my online community was up in arms, really upset over the situation and calling for sanctions and jail-time blah blah blah. Then, when he went to jail for it and did his time like the law told him to, those same people wanted him to be banned from the NFL.

      So I can either say something PRO-Vick, causing people to cry, bitch & moan and unfriend me on social services, stay neutral to the situation and post links to his reinstatement into football, or jump on the bandwagon denouncing him, gain more followers and feel like a jerk for doing/saying stuff I don’t believe.

      The question becomes whether the fallout is worth your expressing your honest opinion in the first place. If you’re blogging for business, it might not be. You might want to make an anonymous account to do that from, which SUCKS, but protects your business. If you’re blogging for self-expression, as I am, there’s the added benefit of when people run into you IRL, they either pat you on the back and say “Good Job.. That’s exactly what I was thinking, but nobody ever has the nerve to actually SAY it.” or they look at you with disdain like “I hope he doesn’t notice that I’m looking at him with disdain”. It’s actually rather beneficial for separating the wheat from the chaff…

      1. Great stuff, Bill.

        I do separate my civic stuff from my business, and tend to do the community blog thing instead of the personal blog, so they don’t really cross paths. I also run a FB fanpage: to really keep the focus on my business.

        I do want to share some things with people in the social network setting, but don’t want to argue or push an ideology.

        I also try to keep civic discussions out of conversations IRL, but it’s near impossible for me. lol…

        It happens, but the nonpartisan, or equal opportunity bashing, insulates me from the real partisan ire out there.

        Please be sure to share your brand thoughts with me on the fb when you get around to it.

        I’d be very interested.

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