The Internet Holds Us Accountable. We’re Out of Luck.

Everything we do and say is easily searchable on the internet and may be held against us in the future. Yet, we seem to be surprised, or even upset, when hear that someone is denied opportunity, loses a promotion, or even loses their job, based on something they said or did in in the past. Or, maybe we aren’t surprised. Maybe we are some of the people boycotting a company based on their stance on a particular issue, or even on choices made by an employee.

internet accountability

The Benham Brothers

Last week my Facebook news feed  with stories of The Benham Brothers. They had a show scheduled to premier in October on HGTV. After the announcement of the show, Right Wing Watch did some research on the brothers and published an article quoting their right-wing activist stance on many hot button topics.

Shortly after that article came out, HGTV decided not to move forward with the show.

Following that announcement, a CNN article actually has many quotes by Benham, indicating they don’t discriminate and aren’t full of hate – they are just practicing their religion.

“The brothers believe HGTV was bullied into its decision because of the media firestorm.

“It was too much for them to bear and they had to make a business decision,” David Benham said.   

I totally agree with David Benham: HGTV had to make a business decision. Perhaps some people had threatened to boycott either the show or the entire station, because they weren’t happy with these brothers’ past comments.

I’ve read that many conservatives are threatening to boycott HGTV altogether now, if the show isn’t picked back up. But, really, that’s to be expected, right? Has Duck Dynasty taught us nothing? People don’t want to support others with conflicting views, but it does put companies in a tough spot.

Brendan Eich

A month ago Brendan Eich was a newly appointed CEO of Mozilla. When his previous campaign donations were uncovered and broadcast, there were boycotts and protests. The boycotts didn’t stop when he said he would uphold Mozilla’s inclusive beliefs. It didn’t matter that those campaign contributions were out of his own pocket and based on his personal beliefs. The backlash was so large that Mr. Eich resigned as CEO, believing that was in Mozilla’s best interest.

This is becoming normal in today’s society.

Michael Sam and Jack Burkman

Three months ago, American football defensive end Michael Sam announced he was gay. He could potentially be the NFL’s first openly gay player. Days before the NFL draft, lobbyist Jack Burkman said he intends to build a national coalition to boycott any football franchise that picks Michael Sam in the NFL Draft.

Apparently, Burkman believes that if you’re gay, you can’t play. How is that fair? It’s not, but that doesn’t really matter. Personally, I don’t think his chatter about boycotting made a difference since the St. Louis Rams drafted Michael Sam.

Does anyone remember my former Douchebag of The Week Award winner, Richard D. Land? Shockingly enough, I found a quote by him that I completely agree with. He said, “I’m adamantly opposed to such efforts. A person’s sexual preference should not be an impediment to their livelihood in the sports industry. I think it’s unwarranted, unjustified and unfair to try to intimidate NFL teams from drafting someone because of their sexual orientation.”

Before that was Chick-fil-A. When business owners share their personal beliefs, the public is very likely to hold them responsible. Some people will choose to spend more money at a particular place, while others won’t ever give them another dime.

It all comes down to target audience and dollars. Businesses are realizing how quickly information spreads. Individuals are also. Remember Justine Sacco and her “tweet heard around the world”? She wasn’t famous. She was someone who used poor judgement and lost her job over an offensive tweet.

Honey Maid

Everyone wants their voice to be heard. When One Million Moms and other conservatives emailed complaints and tweeted about Honey Maid’s #thisiswholesome campaign, others fought back by emailing congratulations and tweeting on their own. That encouraged Honey Maid to produce a second viral video (My personal favorite commercial ever). Love them or hate them, people are speaking out and expressing their support or disgust on the internet.

There are consequences to our actions as well.

Have you Googled yourself lately? I hadn’t, but when I did, I found pages and pages. Many blog posts, social media links, comments I’ve made on different news sites or other blogs. It was quick for me to weed through what was me and what had nothing to do with me. It was actually pretty amazing.

That said, I’m certain if I ever apply to a job and a perspective employer does a quick internet search on me, I’m probably completely screwed. I’m fairly certain I wouldn’t get to the interview stage since they’d probably be thinking something like this:

“Well, we found her blog, so we know how she really feels about pretty much everything. Further, we’ve seen quite a few posts she’s shared on Facebook, so we understand her sense of humor. There isn’t much she’d be able to add by coming in for an interview.”

I wouldn’t blame anyone for that, but I do feel that it would be somewhat inaccurate. They would know the information I share on the internet, which really is quite a bit. Although I’m fairly open, even I don’t share everything on the internet.

Fact is, if we all took a little time to research people, companies, and organizations, I’m sure our brains would be overloaded with the information we can find. People are doing that now, more than ever, and it is affecting businesses and individuals in greater ways than many of us realize.



23 Thoughts on “The Internet Holds Us Accountable. We’re Out of Luck.

  1. Rhonda,
    As usual, I agree. A lot of this reactive behavior is a result of the speed that information, or misinformation reaches us, and how few people ever bother to dig just a little, to take a moment to even consider that the story might have some key aspects that have been omitted, glossed over, or downright lied about.
    The way we are all bombarded with “news” no matter what the source, leaves little time for reflection, and so we’re all running around making snap decisions based on often poorly vetted sources. This is what fuels FOX news viewers.
    They accept whatever is uttered as true and reliable, and the next thing you know we’ve got an armed militia hunkered down in Utah, defending a man who has been breaking the law for decades, and threatening government agents, and the local community who have been paying taxes, and paying for the very grazing rights, this man refuses to pay for.
    Nancy Lowell recently posted…Making Good ChoicesMy Profile

    • Email makes it easy to send letters companies, and with social media we all have an audience to share the information with. I think sometimes the hardest part is just weeding through all the information.

      Another thing that aggravates me is that many people just read headlines. Big problem when the headline isn’t actually supported by what’s in the article. I follow a few “news” sites that do this all the time!

      The situation in Nevada is out of control. I’ve been following it all along, but I’m so glad I’m not in the area. Bundy is an entitled asshole for sure, but then there are his supporters…That’s scary shit.
      Rhonda @Bitch & Whine recently posted…The Internet Holds Us All Accountable. We Are All Out of Luck.My Profile

  2. I am proud that my local NFL team (the St. Louis Rams) drafted Michael Sam.
    Kathy G recently posted…Happy Mother’s DayMy Profile

    • Kathy, I’m happy that he was able to be true to himself, not drop any surprises on anyone else and still be drafted. I kept checking to see if he was drafted and it was nice to see when he was. Later I read a few articles talking about some jerks on twitter. I wonder why everyone just can’t be happy for the kid?
      Rhonda @Bitch & Whine recently posted…The Internet Holds Us All Accountable. We Are All Out of Luck.My Profile

      • I follow very little football, but since Michael Sam went to Mizzou (University of Missouri) we’ve gotten the story from both a local and a national perspective. He seems like a genuinely nice guy.

        However, according to the men in my family the Rams weren’t the best fit for his skill set; even though he was signed he won’t be guaranteed a job. If he’s cut I wonder what the blowback will be
        Kathy G recently posted…Happy Mother’s DayMy Profile

        • That’s a great question! I wonder too. Hopefully, if he can find a place on a team (any team if the Rams aren’t the best fit for him), people will start thinking of him just like any other player.

          The local story had to have been better than the national story.

  3. This is why I blog and comment under a pseudonym. I don’t ever log into or connect my personal FB account to websites that allow me to do so. Google can find EVERYTHING.
    Twindaddy recently posted…25 Days, 25 Songs: Day 13My Profile

  4. I’m more paranoid than genius. I’m sure if people really tried, they could still find out shit about me. I’m not going to make it easy on them, though.
    Twindaddy recently posted…25 Days, 25 Songs: Day 13My Profile

  5. Still, better safe than sorry.
    Twindaddy recently posted…25 Days, 25 Songs: Day 13My Profile

  6. Yeah, I live in fear of my job finding my blog and my twitter account.

    I’m definitely living dangerously
    Michelle recently posted…What If I Have Honest Depression?My Profile

  7. This is the message I try to get across to my kids about what they post. I try to explain to them that something they think is funny or cool now could prevent them from getting a job in the future.
    I hope they take this to heart.
    Missy Homemaker recently posted…Settling InMy Profile

    • I can definitely make a difference! I kinda feel for kids, where there whole lives can/and in many cases are documented on FB or blogs. In one way, it’s like the best “baby book” and account for childhood and even their whole lives EVER. On the other hand, everything is out there for the world to see. No secrets.

      I hope your kids take what you say to heart about that too.
      Rhonda @Bitch & Whine recently posted…Are People Responsible For Their Thoughts, Actions, or Neither?My Profile

  8. Absolutely agree!! That’s why I am very concerned for today’s kids and the stuff they post in their accounts! It’s sad that the crazy things teens do today will affect their job prospects later!
    Roshni recently posted…The Sandwich Generation – Taking care of aged parentsMy Profile

  9. Doug in Oakland on May 13, 2014 at 7:11 pm said:

    My dad taught me something about loose talk that really applies to the internet; he used to tell me to consider the source. Involvement is usually better than apathy, but it seems like the sheer volume of news is causing feelings of being overwhelmed, and leading to binary reactions in inappropriate places. The truth is usually messier than that.
    I find that if I allow for the bias I know a news source to have, I can usually get at least some reality out of what they’re offering. That said, though, I’ve gotten really picky about who I am willing to sift through to get at the story.
    And yes, some of my favorite bloggers don’t publish their real names in the hopes of having a career again someday…

  10. Ahh, those bloggers you speak of are wise indeed. They thought ahead.

    I follow all kinds of news sources from ultra liberal to uber conservative and many in between. I love getting a feel for how many groups feel on the same story – many times it’s drastically different. I always have to remember the slant as well.
    Rhonda @Bitch & Whine recently posted…Are People Responsible For Their Thoughts, Actions, or Neither?My Profile

  11. I have to admit that I’m a bit worried about what will happen if I try to go back to teaching. I wish I had thought more about using a pseudonym. I guess I just have to get super rich off my blog so I don’t have to worry about it. (Ha!)
    Real Life Parenting recently posted…Dear Mom on the iPhone: You’re Doing Fine.My Profile

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