The Death of Anonymity Courtesy of Facebook
The Alabama mother of three who appeared to have a few too many at the OU/BAMA game and then took on a group of OU undergrads illustrates just how quickly one can go (courtesy of the internet) from mild mannered fan/mother to internet sensation. I some how doubt that Michelle Pritchett envisioned diving into a crowd of OU fans and then kicking them but she has come forward and said they were taunting her son and she would do it again if necessary.
Unruly fans are nothing new. The ability of stories like this to go viral is. You at this point should be wondering why I am talking about this in a law blog? Good question. The reason is almost every single person with any internet presence (Facebook, work website with a bio, Linked In, even results from your latest 5k race etc. etc.) should expect that information to be mined by others. This could be lawyers, employers (lots of issues with this), friends, family, or OU fans trying to track down who jumped on them.
Back to Pritchett. So an OU fan with very good iphone skills films the event and posts it. Then some more clever folks set the event to different music themes like Miley Cyrus’ wrecking ball and wrestling commentary. Somehow someone get Prtichett’s name and the facebook searches begin and volia she is identified.
The same thing goes on to a lesser extent and certainly not a viral level everyday. I suspect we all have done this type of internet research on competitors, potential clients, and witnesses. It’s just human nature and a lot of folks like posting all sorts of information about themselves on the internet.
So, Mrs. Pritchett is neither the first nor the last to receive such scrutiny. As our internet biographies continue to grow the anonymity/privacy we once had disappears. I’m not sure if this is a good or a bad thing. What do you think?