I learned many years ago as a public speaker that a misspoken word can come back to haunt a person.
For many years, I was responsible for planning and implementing a major annual convention, where everything was audio- and videotaped from beginning to end. As I worked with the video and sound technicians, I learned they seldom turn off all the microphones. We learned to work and live as if there was always an open microphone recording every word.
In recent years, with the 24-hour news cycle, some news outlets have started gathering bloopers of politicians and celebrities. We have seen gaffes that politicians have made when they think they are speaking only to the person sitting next to them at a dinner party only to discover later the entire world was able to hear the words they whispered. With advanced technology, almost every time there is a news program, the viewers can witness the criminal activity caught on a security camera. It is even possible now to be able to see into your home from an offsite location on a smart phone or some other mobile device. Knowing there is the possibility of being caught on camera or one's words being recorded from the smallest of devices, we still see people caught in the act of robbery or some other crime. Once the alleged criminals are caught, they often admit to the fact that they saw the camera but continued with their criminal activity anyway.
Much is being written currently about the government spying on private citizens. The technology of spy planes or Drones has caused the issue to be raised recently. There are many cities that have installed cameras at traffic lights to catch people who break the law, and we can be sure on most major interstate highway systems inside of cities there are cameras recording the vehicles as they travel over the roadways. What can be a good use of the open microphone policy can also be a double-edged sword for those who can’t remember or misremember what they do or say.
In the political and professional world where I live and work, we have seen politicians taken to task for jobs they held early in their life before they entered politics. We have witnessed embarrassing and even immoral behavior caught on camera and posted on social media sites to the detriment of high profile politicians and preachers. There should never be a time when we think no one is watching and that no one will know what is said. With handheld devices that can produce video and audio of the highest quality with the capability of editing to make a person sound as if they support or oppose any given topic, we must all let our yes and no be the same in all places at all times. From where I stand, we never know when someone will say “Smile, you are on candid camera!”
Have you ever been caught unaware on a camera? Tell us in comments.
Follow Ray Newman on Twitter — @RayNewmanSr.