Any time a new technology is introduced to the world, so too are opportunities for new behaviors — both good and bad.
The New York Times magazine cover story on former Representative Anthony Weiner and his wife, Huma Abedin, in the wake of his Twitter-related scandal, is a none-too-subtle reminder of this. The piece paints a detailed picture of the couple’s life and attitudes in the aftermath of the scandal (as well as giving Weiner a platform for announcing that, yes, he still has political ambitions). It is as much a story of their analog emotions and struggles as it is a new chapter in the book on innovation as it relates to scandal.
Weiner outlines this when discussing the nature of his transgression — sending lewd photos of himself via Twitter to another user and accidentally tweeting one of the photos publicly rather than via direct message. In the piece, Weiner highlights how his downfall was a byproduct of a combination of factors, including the fact that Twitter existed at all. In the piece, he is quoted as saying:
“...if it wasn’t 2011 and it didn’t exist, it’s not like I would have gone out cruising bars or something like that. It was just something that technology made possible and it became possible for me to do stupid things. I mean, the thing I did, and the damage that I did, not only hadn’t it been done before, but it wasn’t possible to do it before.”
The nature of Weiner’s transgression has been thoroughly discussed, but his exploration of the role technology played is notable particularly in light of what’s coming next. As wearable cameras, social media-enhanced mobile operating systems and easy-to-use animated gif generators emerge and proliferate it is all but certain Weiner will not be the last person to surprise himself and the world with an unintended innovation in the realm of scandal.
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