Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Can You Keep a Secret?

By: Susan Finco, President, Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc.

Can you keep a secret? From childhood on, all of us are asked from time to time to keep a secret, or maybe we’re the one telling a secret. You hopefully learn which secrets really should be kept, which ones have little meaning and which ones should definitely be brought out in the open.

One of the great secrets of modern times was “Deep Throat,” the name Bob Woodward of the Washington Post gave to the informant who provided him with information about the Watergate scandal. The secret lasted for 31 years and was only revealed when the family of the informant, former FBI associate director Mark Felt, went public.

I sincerely doubt that kind of secret would hold that long today. The world of instant media means everything is pretty much fair game to inquiring minds. That’s today’s reality. In fact, I am amazed when people or organizations are surprised that their secrets – recent or long held – come to light and are subject to public scrutiny. There are so many examples, be it Herman Cain, Penn State, Arnold Schwarzenegger or Kim Kardashian, to name just a few. In the case of something that’s illegal, immoral or unethical, it’s a good thing these situations are exposed. But really, do the private details of Kim Kardashian’s divorce warrant all this media coverage? (Can you tell I’m not a fan?)

But it isn’t just public figures and institutions that are subject to today’s wide world of secret-busting, instant media. All of us would do well to stop and think about what we’re posting online as well as how we live our lives. It is an open book where secrets don’t last for long.

Have you thought about how today’s media world impacts your personal life or, perhaps more importantly, how it could impact your life in the future if you are keeping any secrets? Have you, or will you, change what you post or how you live?

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