As they stumbled across Las Vegas Blvd., I marveled at how they were able to stay atop those five-inch stiletto heels, despite the

las vegas sign - What Happens in Vegas... (Or How to Ruin a Reputation With Just One Click)obvious challenges in play. Loudly, and repeatedly, the members of the bachelorette party proclaimed, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” as they lifted their drinks aloft. Armed with the knowledge that “no one will ever know,” they embraced the opportunity to party in public with gusto and enthusiasm.

While I imagine that this attitude makes the local board of tourism very happy, is there really any place where we can do whatever we want and be assured that no one will know about it?

For these scantily-clad partiers, there are photos to think about, lots of photos. I know; I took some of them using their cameras and cell phones so they could all get into the group shots. There is no doubt in my mind that many of those photos were already uploaded to Facebook and shared with friends. While I don’t know these young women, I’m guessing this may not turn out to be their proudest moment or one they’d like to have shared with Dad or their boss. The photos been posted, tagged and emailed. Do they really have any control over what happens with those photos now?

Am I saying that only those who end up drunk in Las Vegas are the only ones who need to be concerned about their online content? Absolutely not.

Have you ever:

  • Written an email (or left a voicemail) to a co-worker, customer or (gosh, I hope not) your boss after having a few drinks?
  • Attended a party or other gathering when someone starts taking photos and then suddenly find that they’ve been posted and tagged on Facebook. (Yes, you can un-tag yourself, but that doesn’t really solve the problem.)
  • Complained online anywhere about another person or share any news which might reflect poorly on you?
  • Posted anything online while feeling hurt or angry?

There is no “Las Vegas” online. There is no place where we can behave or act in a way we normally wouldn’t and be assured that no one will know.

Regardless of your privacy settings or your own practice of sharing certain thing with friends only, there are no guarantees. Friends have been known to misjudge what we think is funny or appropriate. Friends have also been known to stop being friends, and at that point, all bets are off.

To manage our online reputation, we must ask ourselves one question before we click that button: “Am I OK with my mom, my boss, my professors and CNN seeing this?” If the answer isn’t a resounding Yes!, stop. Don’t send, update, share, tweet or publish.

Online content can be easily found and shared. Deleting – not so easy.

Heading out to explore Las Vegas for the day. I will do my best to behave myself and not publicly post any momentary indiscretions.

Have you ever regretted something you’ve shared online?
Seen anyone else share something which gave you that “uh-oh” feeling?

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This is my first post using the WordPress app on my BlackBerry, so I am not able to see the post as you see it. All feedback is appreciated. FYI-Typing a post of the tiny keyboard hurts after while!

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