Living life out loud

This week a story hit the press about an angry Philadelphia Eagles football fan who’d been captured on camera vociferously expressing his in-game displeasure with the referees. That alone isn’t much of a story. But the fact that that apoplectic fan was the Dean of Admissions at the University of Pennsylvania? That made it slightly more newsworthy.

The discovery that admissions officers are, like the rest of us, real and occasionally flawed human beings outside of work was not exactly a newsflash to anyone I know in the admissions or counseling industry. It’s one of the many reasons I remind students here that colleges don’t expect that students will be perfect, and that applicants should be themselves in their applications.

But this is another area where social media has changed the game. 20 years ago, a fan caught on camera at an NFL game might only have garnered amused acknowledgement from their own friends, colleagues, and family who happened to be tuning in at that precise moment. Today, the ease of sharing just about anything on social media amplifies that story to the level of broader interest in the subject matter.

Lesson #16 of my final 31 posts: We’re all living life out loud.

That email you’re sending, that tweet you’re composing, that picture you’re posting–would you feel comfortable doing the same if it were shared far and wide? For better or worse, we only get to decide what we say, do, and post. More and more, the decision of whether or not to share it, and with whom, is made for us.

None of us can be perfect all the time (including when your beloved team is losing at home). But we can’t reserve our best behavior for only those occasions that are designed to be shared publicly. Increasingly, we’re all better off assuming that we’re living life out loud.