Biting Your Tongue

WARNING: I BEGAN THIS POST SEVERAL MONTHS BACK AND COULD NEVER REALLY FIND A DIRECTION I LIKED DUE TO THE NATURE OF THE CONTENT. SO PLEASE FORGIVE ANY CHRONOLOGICAL REFERENCES THAT MIGHT SEEM A LITTLE OFF. FOR INSTANCE, THE OPENING PARAGRAPH ABOUT A RECENT TWEET ACTUALLY TOOK PLACE SEVERAL MONTHS AGO WHEN I FIRST STARTED TO WRITE THIS.

I’ve been dorking around on Twitter recently and every so often I run across something interesting.  The latest was this Tweet:


You might recognize the Wicked mug on that profile so give props where props is due. Apparently the internet ran out of pictures of half-naked women for a few moments so he had some spare time on his hand.

Anyway, the link was to this article about some idiot who got a job offer from Cisco and decided to go on Twitter and tell his fan base that he would hate the job but it was big bucks.  Unfortunately for him, the people at Cisco know a thing or two about the tubing that making up the interwebs and one of Cisco’s channel partners decided to reply in order to find out who the hiring manager was so he could tell him how thrilled the prospect was about his job offer.

Obviously technology is making the world a much smaller place.  A little ego stroking online with your friends can come back to haunt you.  With each new piece of technology (email, blogs, Facebook, Twitter . . . ) there comes a tale of some poor technotard who decides that despite the viral nature of these technologies that their particular stupidity won’t bite them in the ass.

The all-time major f-up in internet history goes to Peter Chung, the (former) investment banker who decided to impress all his friends by telling them how much ass he was scoring in Korea.

” ….CHUNG is going to fuck every hot chick in Korea over the next 2 years (5 down, 1,000,000,000 left to go) the second bedroom is for my harem of chickies…I know I was a stud in NYC but I pretty much get about, on average, 5-8 phone numbers a night and at least 3 hot chicks that say that they want to go home with me every night I go out.”

Ignoring Mr.  Chung’s gross over-estimate of the population in Korea and the somewhat confusing math whereby 3 hot chicks want to go home with him every night and he’s only on 5 of 1,000,000,000, the only thing the guy is really guilty of is being a self-centered, egotistical, misogynistic pig which is pretty much a prerequisite to becoming an investment banker anyway.

Needless to say when his email spread to everyone on the internet courtesy of the friends he was trying to impress The Chungmiester got sacked.  Recent reports indicate his stats have held steady at 5 in 1,000,000,000.  Jobless former investment bankers apparently don’t score a lot of chickies in Korea or any other part of the world.

As these technologies widen our voice they also narrow it. Show me a 20-something that hasn’t bragged like the Chungmeister did. The only difference between him and about 1,000,000,000 other Asian guys working in South Korea for the Carlyle Group as an investment banker using the email address pchung@thecarlylegroup.co.kr, and named Peter Chung who sent out emails to all their friends telling them about what a stud they are is that the Chungmeister wasn’t aware that the “Forward To” option existed in email.

Having the power to message all of your friends with a click of a button also comes with the burden of knowing that whatever you say to them could be in the public domain so even amongst your friends you can find yourself holding yourself back or hedging what you really want to say.

In effect, social media becomes mass media. The only thing that separates us from Peter Chung is either our own discretion or the discretion of our friends (and about 1,000,000,000 Asian chickies). That means that rather than expanding communication it has the potential to restrict it.

Otis recently broke my balls about something that I thought was a funny commentary on the social media scene but let’s be realistic here. People don’t have 27,472 friends. They’re following you because they think there’s some benefit to it. And for most of them it’s either to sell you something (a product, visiting their website, or whatever) or they’re building an audience that their attention starved ego can perform for.

I think Otis had a good point in saying that things like Facebook have been wonderful tools to keep up on friends and such. And they are. I just spent the other night chatting with some really dear friends I haven’t seen since I moved overseas. It was great to catch up.

But Twitter hasn’t even hit mainstream status yet and people are already in a mad dash to acquire as many followers as possible. Jason Calacanis allegedly offered $250,000 to be put on Suggested Users list that all new Twitter users are shown. Now, I know Jason from the old dotcom days and I can assure you that he’s not that hard up for friends. So why did he want to be on the Suggested Users page where tens or possibly hundreds of thousands of people would mindlessly click to follow him? Because he’s a very astute marketing guy. He’s basically buying an opt-in mailing list. An opt-in mailing list that could potentially drive millions of dollars in future revenue for him and increase his celebrity which in turn could potentially bring him more untold riches.

Now, I’m not saying there’s anything necessarily wrong with that. Technology has a long history of filling voids and being used in ways it wasn’t initially intended. It’s just that more and more there seems to be a need to create the public and private versions of many of these tools. Your Twitter account for actual friends and family members and the Twitter account that you desperately try to sign up 10,000 followers a day to so that you can announce your latest blog post or so you can entrance tens of thousands of people with what you ate for lunch or what mood you happen to be in at this very moment.

But the effect of having your voice spread far and wide takes on even more dire consequences when you’re beaming your message into a very small area. I have often found myself holding back in posts because of the fact that the industry is so small that airing certain things in public serves me or my readers no real beneficial purpose other than be sensationalistic.

Don’t worry, I’m not holding out on anything major. I don’t have proof that online poker is rigged or that Phil Ivey is actually a creature from another planet sent here to demoralize poker players across the universe with his eerily wicked play. But I have had to bite my tongue on more than a few occasions. I had to weigh the potential damage to me personally and professionally and make a call as to whether or not putting the information in the public domain was worth it. And to be honest, I really didn’t hold back information per se. I was much more diplomatic than I would have normally been or I might have let someone break the story first and then gave my opinion on what they wrote; perhaps pointing out what I think they got right and what I think they got wrong.

And that’s not an entirely bad thing either. People don’t want to feel like they have to worry about what they say is going to end up in one of your blog posts. You want people to confide in you. You want to have friendships. And for the most part I think I’ve balanced that pretty well. I’ve said some things here you definitely will not read on any other blog. But at the same time I’ve never betrayed anyone’s trust. To this day I’ve never received an email from anyone angry that I’ve posted something that was intended to be in confidence. I’ve never been pulled aside by my employers and told that I’ve divulged any company secret on my blog. It’s a tough tightrope to walk sometimes but it’s one you must walk if you want to provide fresh content about what’s going on in the online poker industry.

There’s a quote I ran across a long time ago and forgot who wrote it but it goes something along the lines of “I no longer need to punish, deceive or compromise myself. Unless, of course, I want to stay employed. ”

I know I’m not the only one who finds themselves in this position. I know a lot of people in the industry who blog or tweet or post on Facebook and they’ll often tell me that they feel like they’re editing themselves. Word spreads too quickly. Too many people in the poker world are too interconnected. Nobody wants to become the next Chungmeister.

To be honest, I’m not sure what the point of this post is. As I said in my warning, I started writing this several months ago and I could never really figure out how to wrap everything up with a nice little bow and present it on the blog. But maybe it wasn’t meant to have a nice little bow. Maybe it was supposed to be a tattered mess sitting out there. I don’t know. So I’m posting it anyway and if you love it or hate it then that’s your choice to make.

So that’s all I have to say about that. Now, I’m off to accomplish my goal of meeting the other 999,999,995 Korean women the Chungmeister missed.

Photocred to lucyburrluck

3 comments

  1. A very old friend of mine asked me the other day why she never got mentioned in my blog posts. I was going to remind her that she was essentially a private person and really she didn’t want to be cyber-public. Now I am just going to send her a link to this post, thanks Bill, well said.

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