In last month’s Esquire, there’s an interview with George Clooney where he briefly discusses Twitter:
“So one drunken night, you come home and you’ve had two too many drinks and you’re watching TV and somebody pisses you off, and you go ‘Ehhhhh’ and fight back. And you go to sleep, and you wake up in the morning and your career is over. Or you’re an asshole. Or all the things you might think in the quiet of your drunken evening are suddenly blasted around the entire world before you wake up. I mean, when you see, like, Ashton Kutcher coming out going, you know, ‘Everybody leave Joe Paterno alone,’ or whatever he said, you just go, ‘Fifteen minutes longer and a thought process and probably you wouldn’t have done that.’ ”
Granted, most of us don’t live in a world where everything we say can and will be used against us in the court of television infotainment, but it still applies. I’m sure we’ve all said something publicly on the net that we wish we hadn’t.
I think it’s especially true for those of us who live in the little echo chamber of the world of open source. Maybe it’s a snarky comment in a Perlmonks thread, or a flippant remark at a conference, or something rude in a bug report. These things get remembered and hurt us.
“I have often regretted my speech, but never my silence” — Publilius Syrus, 1st century BC, well before Twitter.