Freedom of Consequences

Boo Hoo Hoo! πŸ˜€

Around February, 2008… approximately five (5) months ago, I decided to ask a member of the video message board, Seesmic if he REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY wanted to represent himself as he did in a video that he made.

What happened? People started crying. BOO HOO HOO! YOU’RE BEING MEAN! YOU’RE TELLING HIM WHAT TO DO! BOO HOO HOO! πŸ˜€

Fast forward 5 months to this week’s events… where a *different* person got penalized for video that HE posted to the internet. Did he post it ~ a year ago? Yes. Was he penalized for it this week? Yes.

So now, maybe people can stop CRYING and WAKE UP! πŸ˜€ It doesn’t matter if you’re having a so-called private conversation with a so-called friend of yours if it’s AVAILABLE FOR THE PUBLIC TO VIEW. People are going to look at the one video that you did and make their own decisions about your content and about YOU as a person. They’re going to decide whether they want to socialize with “a person like this”. They’re going to decide whether they want to HIRE “a person like this”. They’re going to decide whether they want to SPONSOR “a person like this”.

The point I was trying to get across, almost half a year ago, is that all of your content is standalone. You have to treat every video and every text post and every picture as if people are going to look at that ONE item and form judgements about you. You can’t rely on OTHER posts to pull you back into the frying pan out of the fire. You can’t rely on other people vouching for your character, ESPECIALLY when your video is viewed outside the realm in which your friends have juice. If nobody’s ever heard of your friends or they just don’t care what your friends opinions are, you’re short.

The reason people were CRYING is because they want the internet to be about freedom of speech. Unfortunately for them, they’re missing the other side of the coin…

Freedom of Consequences

Yes, you are free and clear to use whatever low-class terms you like when you make video, audio or text posts to the internet. What happens next is… PEOPLE SEE YOU AS LOW-CLASS. Good for you. You’ve achieved your goal. You expressed yourself, and people have a new image of you that you’ve created. Similarly, if you create a video that people see as offensive… PEOPLE SEE YOU AS AN OFFENSIVE PERSON. That’s the way it works. You express yourself, and then, as Otir pointed out, you have ZERO CONTROL over what other people receive and internalize based on what you posted. This is what’s simultaneously fantastic and unfortunate about communication, especially on the internet.

Does it matter that whatever video you’re getting penalized for is a year old? No. People that saw it for the first time TODAY… feel upset about it TODAY…. NOT last year. Unfortunately, the fact that posts, especially video and audio are STANDALONE items means that whatever the focal point is of people being upset can now be embedded ad infinitum all over the web. Guess what? Your context is GONE! The text you wrote on your original page with the video? GONE! The links you had on that page to supporting material? GONE! Your entire library of work up until and surpassing that time? GONE! Comments from posters and/or supporters? GONE! The only thing that’s left is the content that you uploaded and the thoughts of the person who’s newly embedded your video on their page so they can show THEIR FRIENDS that you’re “a person like this”.

I was having a conversation IRL just last night, in which I thought I was anonymous, and then the chick… um… woman says “I’ve read your blog“, hahaha and it was time to change gears. Not because I was being inauthentic beforehand, but because now, I was aware that I wasn’t working with a clean slate. πŸ˜€ We still had a great and interesting convo, but it had already been tinted by her impression of who I am or what I’m about from reading my blog.

That’s the way it works. You express. Other people receive and take away what they want from what you expressed, regardless of your intentions when you posted the text, audio or video. I touched on this in a joking way in “Do NOT Let This Happen To You! :/”. I was saying “some stuff” and then Annie broke out her xacti and it was time for The Kid to say “other stuff”! πŸ˜€


Permalink: http://pixelcurrents.tv/post/33454768
Again… Not because I was being inauthentic when the camera was off, but because what I was saying wasn’t for general consumption. It was a conversation I was having with my friends and totally wouldn’t have made sense outside of the context that they all had from being friends of mine and actually knowing me. I mean… It would have made sense, πŸ™‚ but I can’t express to randoms the same thing I can express to people that have background knowledge of who I am, what I do and why I do it with anywhere near the same effect.
 
Similarly… If you do a video that you put out on public channels that for some odd reason, you consider private… be prepared for people that you didn’t intend to watch that video to view it and make up their minds about “who you are” as a person. If you do a video that you think is funny to your friends and people that know you, and put it on public channels… be prepared for people that you didn’t intend to watch that video to view it and make up their minds about “who you are” as a person. Is there freedom of speech? Of course there is. There’s also OWNERSHIP. OF. CONSEQUENCES.

That was my whole point back on Seesmic.

I couldn’t care ANY LESS how people express themselves on the net.

I wanted people to realize is that they eventually might have to OWN the consequences of their actions/words/videos, and that’s what we all got a front row seat to this very week.

Welcome to the real world, Neo.

Who Are You?

I’ve had some really interesting experiences as of late, which all revolve around the question “Who Are You?”. Not the absolutely unknowing question, as in “Who IS that over there?”, but the arrogant question “Who are YOU?”.

Let’s get it straight off the bat. “Who you are” is relative and completely subjective.

Am I an Emmy Award-Winning video editor? Yes I am. Have I been a National *and* International Emmy Awards Judge for several years? Yes I have. Does that have *ANYTHING* to do with how I interact with people? No, it does not.

2007 International Emmy Award JudgingBill Cammack & Elizabeth Hummer 1999-2000 New York Emmy Award WinnersDave & Bill @ NYNATAS - Emmy Judging

This is because what I’ve accomplished is NOT “who I am”. Similarly, what other people have NOT accomplished is NOT “who they are”, either. To take that one level further… Not knowing that someone’s accomplished something does not make them NOBODY or INFERIOR. Learning that someone HAS accomplished something doesn’t automatically make them SOMEBODY or SUPERIOR, either.

I touched on this topic peripherally in “HowÒ€ℒs your logo working for you?” when I mentioned meeting Nathan Freitas. To expand… We had just come from a great frisbee game, and a bunch of us headed out to celebrate and socialize afterwards. I had played against Nate, and I thought he did well, and I hadn’t met him before, so I introduced myself to him. He didn’t recognize my name, and I didn’t recognize his, but he knew of ReelSolid.TV, and he and I had actually had text-based interaction way before meeting IRL because he had commented on a video I did about men’s suits. Interestingly enough, even though I knew NOTHING about Cruxy.com at the time, I knew I had a picture with Mike Hudack while he was wearing a Cruxy shirt. Nate immediately and adamantly informed me that I was mistaken, at which time I turned on my camera and produced said picture:

Bill & Mike

The point that’s relevant to this particular post is that I didn’t go from “nobody” to “somebody” when Nate figured out “who I was”. I went from “a person” to “a person that Nate had heard of, and whose work he had seen”. Same thing with me. For me, Nate went from “a frisbee opponent” to “someone I’ve met who runs a site where artists can upload their work and get paid for it”.

Most people who meet me have no idea “who I am”, and I like it that way. They have no idea that I’m an MIT graduate. They have no idea that I’m DatingGenius.

Limor, Phil & Bill
Brass Rats: Phil, Limor, Bill

I like it that way, because people are REAL when they don’t have a reason to sweat you. I love being “judged” by what people see when they look at me. πŸ˜€ I love it when people play themselves, because there’s no returning from that. It’s like “Before you knew who you were talking to, you acted totally differently towards me”.

Anyway… I’ve had several interesting interactions over the last three weeks, revolving around the question “Who are YOU?”

I ended up at this party, and I saw this random chick hanging out with three of my homegirls. Out of the goodness of my heart, I decided to introduce myself to her. What I intended to do was say hello to her and move on to hanging out with my actual friends. So I say “Hi. I’m Bill”, and her response is “You sent me a friends request on Facebook, and I declined it”. HAHAHA So I’m like ?????? because this is a totally new situation for me. Usually, when chicks don’t accept you on Facebook, that’s because they don’t want to talk to you AT ALL, so when they’re around you, they don’t say jack to you. So I’m like “Wait a minute… Let me get this straight. You just informed me that I friended you on Facebook so you could tell me that you didn’t accept it? :D” and she’s like “Yeah… Who the hell are YOU?”

So, this was really funny, considering that I have over 500 Facebook contacts and over 280 Linkedin contacts and over 650 Twitter contacts and over 600 MySpace contacts, not to mention people that know “who I am” all over the planet, from Hawaii to the U.K. to Tokyo to The Netherlands to California to NYC. Meanwhile, I introduced myself to this chick “cold”, not recognizing her face or body from anywhere, and not recognizing her as someone that I sent a Facebook friends invite to. In the future, when I figured out “who she was”, I realized that I had friended her because I saw that we had 17 mutual friends. There was nothing interesting or appealing about her. Similar to what happened IRL, I was extending the hand of friendship to someone who was friends with friends of mine.

So I found the question “Who the hell are YOU?” to be ridiculous, because it was as if she was requesting for me to audition to be her Facebook friend when I didn’t give a damn about her in the first place. It was like *I* had something to gain from it. Meanwhile, I could have ignored her completely and interacted with my actual friends and my day would have been exactly the same, except for a funny story to tell about how people get souped up and think they’re worth knowing for some odd reason. πŸ™‚

Another interesting reaction I got recently was at a party. At some point, I took a picture with some chick that I had met that night. About 22 hours after I posted the picture to my flickr stream, I got an email from her with some sob story about the reason why she was asking me to take it down. I didn’t believe a word she said, but I gladly made it private, because every picture I take and post is with people that want to take pictures with me. Just the fact that she was asking me to remove it was grounds for removal. The question here is… Why the hell are you taking pictures with people and not expecting those pictures to arrive on the net? The only uneducated guess I can come up with is that because she had never seen me before, she didn’t figure that a picture she took with me would end up anywhere of note. According to her sob story, she didn’t want certain people to see her partying. The question becomes a) Why were you partying in the first place, and b) Why were you taking pictures with people if you didn’t want to be spotted partying?

Last week, I approached this chick who’s active in social media and is always asking her ‘fans’ for things. When she sends out mass emails, she’s all friendly and acting like she knows who it is that she’s interacting with and cares about them. However, when I arrived, not only was she completely disinterested in who I might be, but she failed to even state what her name was. I didn’t bother asking her because I already knew her name and what she does. I found it funny how someone could be such a beggar in social media, yet totally didn’t promote herself IRL. What sense does it make to make contacts with people via computer and then alienate them in person?

OTOH… There are lots of people that I met during PodCampNYC or at various Twitter Meetups or Meetup Meetups that are either AS GENUINE as they appear online or even MORE SO. πŸ˜€ A lot of what we experience of people on the net is merely the characters they’re portraying in their “shows”. When the cameras aren’t rolling, and it’s down to one-on-one communication and interaction, that’s where people really shine or they don’t. That’s where you get to see how people act when there’s nothing in it for them. No audience. No revenue-sharing. No business deals. Just you and them. Person to Person. Face to Face. What’s it like for you to be around them? What’s it like for them to be around you?

Bill & PhilAnnie, Patty, Joe, Roxanne & ChristineKathryn, Christian & Bill

Ultimately, the question “Who are you?” is unimportant. What’s important is how you carry yourself and interact with others. On the spur of the moment, when you meet someone, how do you react to them? How do you interact with them? Do you act differently based on their accomplishments or who they know? Can you have a good time with people that are willing to have a good time with you? What’s the threshold above which you’re willing to interact with someone standing next to you? Someone that sends you a social media ‘friends request’? Someone that’s a friend of a friend of yours, but you haven’t had personal contact with yet?

Is social media merely a networking tool for you, or are you looking to enrich your life by meeting interesting and intelligent people and cultivating relationships with them?

Do NOT Let This Happen To You! :/

Due to a series of unfortunate circumstances (all of my own creation), this video was filmed by Annie Boccio and uploaded to the internet. We are going to discuss the errors I made that led to this and how YOU can avoid this from happening to YOU in the future. πŸ˜€


Permalink: http://pixelcurrents.tv/post/33454768

Error #1: Do NOT hang out with people who post pictures and videos to the internet. πŸ™‚

I wasn’t paying attention and started doing my usual bar routines that I do to people who never record it. I always leave the situations feeling like I had fun messing with people’s minds, and that by the next morning, it would all fade away and I can forget about it or do it again the next night if I so choose. πŸ™‚

What I wasn’t paying attention to was that we were @ PodCampNYC and I was literally SURROUNDED by media-makers. I’m used to being the only one in the room interested in documenting hangouts, and since I had no intention of recording anything, I was just flowing and enjoying some mental recreation… Next thing I know, I notice a small red camera in Annie’s hands, and as Roxanne CoughBenedictArnoldCough Darling mentioned, it was time to change my tune! πŸ˜€

Error #2: Make sure you have a feasible and smooth-sounding counter-statement to what you were saying before the camera was turned on. πŸ™‚

When I saw Annie’s camera, I blanked. πŸ™‚ Whatever I had been talking about completely left my mind, and I had the choices of either saying something opposite or saying nothing at all. I really wanted to say NOTHING, but I decided to “go big or go home”. I decided to challenge myself to come off smooth and convincing at the drop of a hat on a topic that I never talk about = EPIC FAIL! πŸ˜€

If you’ve read any of the DatingGenius series, you know that the basic premise is that people suck in general and that the sooner you realize this, the better you’ll be able to handle the curveballs that relationships throw at you. The opposite of “people suck” is “people are good”, and I realized practically immediately after accepting my own challenge to GO FOR IT that I have no rolodex of GOOD things to say about people in general.

To go off on that tangent for a second… I believe that people SHOULD be “good” to begin with. I hardly see ‘doing the right thing’ as a reason to give someone props. It’s like Chris Rock said… Don’t brag about taking care of your kids… You’re SUPPOSED to take care of your kids! πŸ˜€ (for the reading-impaired, CoughTymeCough, I am making an example. I do NOT have any kids! :D) So, naturally, what’s wrong with your relationship or your perception of reality is that you fail to recognize how wack people can really be. Without that recognition, you can’t solve the problems of your own relationship because you never look in the right places. So, when things are right about a relationship, they’re SUPPOSED to be right, so there’s no reason to talk about them or have them readily mentally available. This is why I was suddenly at a loss when I ordered myself to “say nice things”.

Unfortunately for me, as I scanned backwards through history for something nice to say about women, I initially slid back to the 1960’s and Women’s Lib (apparently known as Second-Wave Feminism), but quickly landed on the rocky bottom of Women’s Suffrage. I then produced some drivel about equal pay and women driving tanks in the military. Pathetic. πŸ™‚ My mind was racing too fast to notice the look on Rox’s face, but that brings us to error #3.

Error #3: Do not try this 180-degree style with someone with whom you’ve already had intelligent conversations. πŸ™‚

In another split-second, spur-of-the-moment calculation that occurred at the same time I decided to try to talk my way out… I had been counting on Rox to back my play. Unfortunately for me, I’ve had hours of genuine, intelligent conversation with her over the time we’ve known each other, so it was clear to her that I was merely spewing propaganda and poorly-prepared propaganda at that! πŸ™‚ The look on her face is “I don’t even BELIEVE that he’s saying this stuff! :/” So that backfired as well, and she mentions on tape that I was saying something completely different before Annie pressed REC.

Error #4: Do not hope that the fliming is over and go back to what you were talking about. πŸ™‚

Clearly, by clip #2 in Annie’s video, I was no longer thinking about the camera, which is why a) I’m back to my regular mode of conversation and b) I’m suddenly wearing glasses. I’m clearly restarting the “on camera” mental functions because I speak ambiguously and appear to make an error. I say

“Dating and women in New York City? (stalling) Well… (stalling) um… (stalling) Women… should be, uh… (thinking) nice as possible to guys in New York City because… they’re outnumbered…”

Jonny Goldstein calls me on this “error” before I get to continue my statement, and I end up agreeing with him about the mistake, making myself look worse! πŸ™‚ The “they” that are outnumbered are the men. The proper continuation of the sentence is “Women should be as nice as possible to guys in New York City, because they’re outnumbered and can choose any women they want out of the 210,820 surplus single females in this town. BUT… Of Course… That didn’t work out for me either, because I was winging it.

Having said all that… How many preparations have I made in case this ever happens again?

None.

This was a complete anomaly. We were at a social media gathering. We all knew of each other to some degree because of blogging and videoblogging. There were cameras all over the place. I don’t think I’ve ever shown up in so much random media at one time. I got lax and stared entertaining our little group of Rox, Joe, Annie and Jonny with some DatingGenius shenanigans and received a visual lesson in how poorly I play things off when I’m trying to talk about things I never think about.

Hmm…

Maybe I should practice filming telling a chick I love her… In case I ever mean it! πŸ˜€

Live Streaming From PodCampNYC

Bill Cammack, streaming live from PodCampNYC.