The Dying Art of Discretion: How Weinergate 2.0 Could've Been Prevented

By , Columnist

Oh good lord. It looks like Dems don't have the racy photo market cornered, as ardent southern Republican Joe Stagni has apparently gotten in on the action... in an effort to get some (more) action.

The Louisiana councilman sent a skin pic to another civic employee with whom he was engaged in an existing sexual relationship. What makes the situation worse is that it wasn't a picture exchanged between two consenting tweeters - no, it somehow ended up on city servers and was circulated through a large number of offices and seen by far more individuals than this poor, horny politician ever intended.

Is it bad that I'm hardly even shocked?

Unfortunately, politicians aren't the only ones who get stung like this - for example, one of my girlfriends has been talking to an attractive guy for a few weeks. He's been trying to get her into bed and, ostensibly as an enticement, he texted her a shot of his goods. All of them. She thought it was hilarious, and showed it to some of her closest friends, and we all had a good laugh. Now, imagine if she had been vindictive instead of amused - this poor Weiner-wannabe could've been eviscerated. Same goes for women who send similar pictures.

I think of the problems with our social media dependence is we've forgotten how to be private and discreet. The concept that "only I can see this" is an extremely inaccurate one - photo reminders of your blackout bender on Facebook, sexts logged in your phone's inbox, suggestive emails between coworkers - somehow, damning materials always find their way into unintended hands or become the tools of blackmail. We've also come to the conclusion that waiting until we're actually in our partners' presence isn't time efficient, so we send racy photos electronically, just because our instant gratification-driven brains and libidos can't wait.

Take a breath, people.

Scandals like these are just one reason why I keep repeating that you should never, ever, ever, EVER put in print anything you don't want saved, repeated, or shown around. This is especially pertinent in a work environment: coworkers in love, angry subordinates, or overly-gossipy colleagues should limit their exchanges to the realm of verbal communication in a proper (read: discreet and off-the-clock) location. Waiting to act on our urges - emotional or physical - can be a pain, but if you want to keep your job, it's definitely the way to go.

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Emmie Scott is an English major-turned-marketing exec, with a passion for writing, humor, sharing knowledge, and "pink drinks." After hours, she started Are Toe Rings Professional Attire?, a blog for college grads and twenty-somethings looking to find their way through that daunting labyrinth called…

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