Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Drinking, Facebook and Out in the Open
I knew this would be one of those stories that would tick people off. Someone turned me on to the Facebook group "30 Reasons Girls Should Call it a Night." I am a Facebook addict and I laughed as I read the list (my favorite is number 17: Every conversation starts with a booming, "DON'T take this the WRONG WAY but.."). Then I got to the pictures. Girls throwing up, falling down and urinating in public places. Wow. I was intrigued that people made these personal and often embarrassing moments so public. We had to investigate. Contrary to what one of my Facebook brethren think, this "tight a**" (thanks, Josh!) knows what college is all about. I went to college and lived the experience to its fullest. In fact, I think I saw my old dorm room in one of those pictures. We turned our findings into a report for Out in the Open.

The first thing I did today was log on to Facebook and check out the comments on the group's "wall." We love it when our stories get people talking and thinking. The responses were fascinating. Many people said that CNN is encouraging people to join the Facebook group by doing this story. Point taken. Others think CNN was unfair to the young women. One young lady said, "They need to get OVER this 'girls drinking epidemic' because its NOT a problem... we are YOUNG, having fun..." But others thought CNN was right on. A woman named Jennifer said, "Actually CNN has a total right to post these photos. I know that sux but you put them out there for everyone to see so you made them public. They blurred out our faces so they covered their a**es."

That leads me to my last point. When journalists do a story on social networking sites, they always walk a fine line. Legally, we can show what's on the site since it is public. But there are other considerations and after long conversations, we decided not to show the faces of the women on the site.

We want to know what you think. Do you think it's fair that we brought this group "out in the open"?
This is group is already out in the open. I have already heard about it. People can do what they want but they have to live with the consequences of it. I would also think that people could download those pictures to their personal computers, so seriously think about that before you post those pictures. But if girls don't mind that years later when they are sitting in the board room wanting to be taken seriously that this may come back to haunt them, go ahead. Society cannot always protect people from their own stupidity.
It's absolutely fair. They posted the photos to the site knowing full well that it was public and that anyone who browsed by could see them. If they were really concerned about the world seeing their antics, there are measures they could have taken to make the photos private.
I just want to comment on the ladies and their urinating problem. During the 1980's women started drinking more beer and this phenomena really caught us by surprise at Dodger Stadium. The small women's restrooms we had up to that time were never a problem. But sudden long lines just couldn't be handled by the women's natural needs. Women couldn't hold it and they were seen more and more with wet pants. They also looked for alternate places like nooks and crannies. And some just walked into the men's rooms. Us guys chuckled in private but we did the right thing. The next year the lades rooms were expanded.
It doesn't really matter if you show the photos or not. They are posted for the public to see. However, what does matter is the negative slant that was put on these girls and college students in general. Why is it wrong for students to do the same thing their parents did when they were the same age? It was completely normal and legal when our parents were in college, why has this changed? Why should anyone else care about what someone else does when they're drunk? Everyone drinks, some more than they should, but who cares. It is not a big deal. Is the only reason anyone cares is because of the internet? 15, 30, 60, even 1000 years ago the same stuff took place. Now that we have the internet to post pictures of our lives it suddenly becomes a problem. This is an attack, not on the girls in particular, but on the very freedoms on which our nation was founded.

And to all the baby-boomers out there, which is worse LSD or alcohol, you tell me.
It is completely fair. They knew that absolute strangers could venture to their sites to see them behaving badly and they reveled in it. They made it public so that they and their little drunk friends could think they were cool but they do not understand how those actions demean them, how women their same age (like myself) look at them in disgust because they seem to have no self respect. How else do you explain urinating in public? If what they were doing when they are drunk is something to be proud of then why wait to get drunk to do it? My message to them: Grow up children, have some pride in who you are and not how stupid you can get when you drink. Being drunk is not an excuse to behave badly.
Facebook is a site that is viewed my millions. So, they took the chance and obviously knew what they were doing for everyone to see their pictures. CNN did nothing wrong. When you put your personal life on the internet, you are allowing the whole world to come into yor life!!
Believe it or not, some people post their pictures on Facebook for only their actual (in real life) friends to see. Then one of these people, supposedly their real life friend, uses the anonymity of the web to take one of the pictures that the person took steps to keep within a small group of friends, and posts it to a blog or a group like this one. That person has betrayed the trust of their friend, and is wrong, but CNN and other websites who post these pictures without the subjects' consent are also wrong. The fact that someone makes something "public," meaning that they shared it with particular other people, does not make it morally acceptable to assume that they agreed to share it with the whole world.
If people want to drink to the point of inebriation and post pictures of the aftermath, they are welcome to. However, I disagree with Jon when he says that "It is not a big deal." Excessive consumption of alcohol has immediate and long-term health consequences, such as the risk of alcohol poisoning and the drastic increase in a woman's likelihood of developing breast cancer. Whether the drinkers are female or male, excessive drinking is problematic, and should not be considered a right of passage.
When a person chooses to post their pictures online, they've opened up their lives to the public whether they wanted to or not. Social sites can be made to keep their profile private only to friends however it's not foolproof that it will stay private since it's easy for any one of their friends to repost incriminating pictures of their partying elsewhere. Same goes if someone just takes a picture of bad behavior. It can all easily be uploaded into the internet.

We've become such a huge "look at me" society that people truly don't care what their behavior is as long as they get attention. How else can a person be proud of posting up pictures of themselves in such embarrassing situations?
I think it is fair to all that CNN had posted pictures of these young women, overly consuming alcoholic beverages. Since the Facebook, a social networking site is open to public; the users are able to do what they wanted to. But there are some limitations that users need to think about such as posting copyrighted materials and naked pictures of any people especially of those people who are underage. The CNN had done an appropriate decision not to show the women’s faces on public because the media did not have the consent of them. I believe that CNN did a rightful act showing these pictures of drunken women in publicity so that the people around the world would know what the problem is in our society. Let’s just face it. What kind of world do you want?
I think that lurking on internet groups and Instant messaging people does NOT count as reporting. Whatever happened tot he real investigative journalism? Simply reporting on this is not going to do anything. You aren't addressing any real problems. You aren't informing anyone that doesn't already know, and if parents didn't know it they are simply ignorant.

It seemed the only reason for this article was to humiliate and bring shame to these girls. I see that it IS only a story because it focuses on young women. What about men? There are plenty of facebook groups by men about drinking, why were women targeted?
As a college girl myself, I chuckled after reading this. I must agree that it is no one's fault but their own by posting those pictures. However, I don't believe this is to be a double standard. We must realize that binge drinking is a problem for both men and women, and we should deal with those societal problems accordingly.
CNN had every right to post the pictures and do the article covering this group. I do agree that it was the wise thing to do in blurring the faces of the girls in the pictures though. Alot of points have been made that those girls who posted pictures of themselves in such situations, on a public forum like Facebook, waivered their right to privacy, I agree. If you don't want your antics on display for the world to see, don't post them on the internet. HOWEVER, it is also a very real possiblity that some of the girls in question had nothing to do with thier photos being posted. How hard is it to take a picture of someone else, even someone you don't know, and post it up online? It is unfortunate that we live in a society that gets entertainment out of viewing other peoples embarrassing moments. Even worse, that some people think that it's ok to act like this simply because "it's what everyone has done" kinda brings to mind the whole jumping off a bridge 'cuz your friends did it. People, especially young women, need to learn that while there is nothing wrong with going out and drinking, getting drunk out of your mind and acting like a fool only makes you look rediculous.
First off, I am a recent college grad - fresh from the trenches, so to say. Sure, our parents had fun in college. I won't deny that I also had my share of what you call 'fun.' But there is a big, bold line between having a drink or two, and perhaps having a few too many, and exposing yourself, or even worse, others in such humiliating and women-demeaning poses in public. To all those who posted their own pictures: Do NOT complain when an employer sees these pictures and does not hire you. Do NOT complain when men treat you without respect. Whatever you do, do NOT complain. Instead, try learn from your mistake. Realize that you damaged your image, and most importantly, maybe one day you will realize that you contributed to the demeaning of women.

Cheers.
"Why should anyone else care about what someone else does when they're drunk?"

I agree whole-heartedly with Jon. People are always into each other's business and concerned with what really doesn't matter. CNN had every right to post about it since these pictures were on a public forum, but I don't think college kids getting drunk is news or an ominous foreshadowing about the future of humanity. It's just college kids getting drunk.

On a more general note, these college kids are doing this on their own time. How do you know if this negatively affects their grades, jobs, or personal relationships? The Drug/Alcohol Czars and Religious Gurus would like you to think that any foray into these and other "unpure" arenas of sin will only lead to negative consequences, but this is just not true. Just like any other experience, it is different for everyone and will have positive and negative aspects for everyone.

The best and most natural way for people to figure out these consequences is to weigh the facts and experiment. Drinking alcohol when your immediate family is rife with alcoholism? Probably not a great decision. Most (and by most I mean the majority of Americans) people have and will experiment with alcohol and other drugs in their lifetimes and come out fine (or even enhanced by the experience). People need to test their boundaries and experience consequences in order to find themselves and make the best decisions. The "college experience" is part of that. No amount of legislating or DARE programs will stop people from that experience.

The point is is that these activities are personal choices made by these girls on their own time(just like their choice to post their pictures). I bet most are doing just fine in their classes and can and will execute fulfilling jobs. All of this judging of people's personal activities by our Puritan cultural standards on their own time is unncessary, unfair, and irrelevant. MYOB, get a hobby, and decide to take people seriously based on the quality of work they present, not their completely irrelevant to work behavior after 9 pm.

In the wise words of Chef from South Park: "Kids, there is a time and place for everything, and that time is College".
The fact that people think that drinking until they fall down is "OK" is the whole problem here. I am a college student myself and I do not believe that going out and getting completely wasted is a smart idea.
I am still a college student and have seen nothing but problems come from drunks.
Vandalism, unprotected sex and general misconduct are just some of the problems overcoming college campus' these days.
I do not understand why the story on CNN was only about young women. College men are doing the same things, often more extreme than females, but the story is just about women. I think if you are going to talk about this issue, it needs to be addressed to both genders.
I would agree that these pictures have been posted in public and are out there to be seen. I would disagree with the thought that this is actually "report worthy" news. With men and women's roles becoming more and more similar, it's just foolish to think that this won't happen. Ever since the 1960's young people have been making complete fools out of themselves at college and into their mid-20's. Who really cares? Shouldn't you be reporting on more important issues like the glass ceiling or animal cruelty? How about you bring the military-industrial complex of America "Out in th Open"?
I was young once, and wow, there's nothing cooler or sexier than puking your guts up after a night out....or in your boyfriends car. Yep, I was young once.....I've been attending AA meetings now for over three years. Best thing that ever happened to me and you know what....I having at least as much fun as ever and I haven't stuck my head in a toilet once to do it.

Older and Wiser
Frankly I find this story actually amusing yet frightening at the same time. Amusing because I was in college when Facebook first started. Going along with the fast pace of society and the next gen notion that anything older than two weeks is ancient and should be ignored... it was a simpler time back in 2003. Your only friens on Facebook were actually your friends and what you posted actually was semi private. Since then Facebook has become unbelieveably huge and much more influential than its creators probably intended. Schools and employers search for incriminating evicence of possible candidates. The new "News Feed" exclaims all of your actions to everyone you're friends with, even though you are probably "friends" with random people you met once at a bar when you were drunk. What I find amusing about this is that society has made HUGE celebrities of people acting stupid. TMZ chases down teen idols and documents all of their wild antics and gets huge ratings. News organizations get the most viewers when Brittney Spears and Lindsey Lohan get PUBLICLY drunk and or wind up in jail for drug charges and only end up with a minor citataion and slap on the wrist. What I find amusing about this is the fact that these "celebrities" are infact glorified for their actions and then CNN turns around and humiliates and condones those who either knowingly or unknowling are posted doing the same actions on Facebook. What I find frightening is the fact that CNN is being so scrutinized for their actions. Freedom of speech. I take a picture of you doing whatever and I post it online for the world to see. That's my picture I took it I can do what I want with it. Obviously these girls didnt take the picture themselves so if they were the ones who posted it then it's their own choice. If someone else posted it than it's their right to do so. The news doesn't have to aquire permission to post video or sound clips or sports stars celebrities politicians or anyone else in any other visual media. Can you imagine everyone walking up to barry bonds asking him permission to print a photo in the paper or post a personal picture on line of him hitting a homerun? that's ludicris. The news has the right to print what they find for a story if they find it news worthy, but this is only news worthy because society promotes such shameless acts.
Maybe the problem is this country's attitude with alcohol. It's such a forbidden fruit that when finally given the chance, at the absurd age of 21, most people drink themselves stupid. It's foolish, and if we didn't have such draconian laws on alcohol in this country I doubt drinking on college campuses would be so bad. Who cares if you're 19 or 21 - there is a world of difference between binge drinking and having a couple glasses of wine. We just don't teach responsible habits for the legal substances in this country. With regards to the facebook group: the internet is not, and never has been private.
I think whether it be a male or female it would be a disgusting act and that is in public or private. The persons who chose to post the photos did just that.... made a choice and part of that choice was to make the photos public. Frankly, I've no desire to view those photos or any like them, because in my opinion that would make me as disgusting as the persons who posted them. The photos are receiving negative responses because the behavior exhibited is negative and now made public by the choice to post them on the internet.
Being a mother of 5, the youngest a daughter, her having a Facebook account, I decided to get one myself. I stay in communication with her friends, my neices and their mothers, as they also have Facebook accounts. It is up to us as parents to start taking back our girls and teaching them the moral rights to living in this day and age. Sure I had my day, but..there were no camera phones, internet and such, not only that predetors can certainly see what girls are most vulnerable and most likely to find the party and not call the cops if approached. They will see who the drinkers are. I wrote a post article on my blog called "Just one of many consequences for the Face Puke Girls", this not intended to be insulting but for them to see how they may be viewed. I received quite a response. I must also say I believe Rick Sanchez and Elizabeth Cohen did unjust to this by not posting "Parents" articulate comments to this but instead posted comments from girls with profanity names in the comments. What does this teach our children, who cares what the parents have to say, only their peers. I thought College students were geared to understand articulate wording and respect it? Instead these two journalists I felt snickered if you have a Facebook account over the age of 30and also felt it wasn't an issue for a parent, it was kind of let their peers handle this, sorry I would rather use my experience and maybe more parents should have facebook accounts and keep an eye on what their children are doing out there. I did, however, send my blog around to many different media outlets all over to get the word out for parents to wake up and smell the crisis.
When you get so drunk that you start taking pictures of yourself urinating publicly throwing up on the streets. In my opinion your getting what your asking for. It's called there's consequences for your actions. If you don't want your pictures posted publicly get a life and grow up and don't post it on a PUBLIC website. I go out and get smashed sometimes but I don't take pictures and publicise it. duh. grow up if you don't want to become a spectacle of the general public!
Some of the things that happened to me or a loved one while drinking excessively:
laughter, sorrow, crying, unprotected sex, running across major street naked, arrested, fighting in bar parking lots after last call.
Pool stick fights,trying to jump out of cars on freeway, crashing, death by a friend by alcohol poisoning,
My mother's favorite quote about people who drink to excess, "A person's true identity is revealed when someone is drinking, this is not an excuse for their actions, they should be held responsible for anything they do and say."
I believe that anybody that publishes on the "World Wide Web" is taking a chance in having these things brought up and put in a forum where it can blow up in awareness. Nobody forced anybody to post anything to the web.

If people are concerned about this, how about doing the obvious... don't post this kind of stuff to the Internet.
Why are 30-something-year-olds on Facebook?
Some people make mistakes and that is fine no one is perfect but many people in serious jobs ... Doctors, Lawyers, Engineers, Investment bankers that hold your future in their hands are really messed up people.

All the time we hear about the local governmanet office person stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars or the teacher that thinks its their job to give personal sex exucation lessons or the off duty cop that murders someone or the professional sports player that likes to watch animals fight to a bloody death and then kill the ones that cant go on after they survive..

THERE ARE SOME REALLY REALLY SICK PEOPLE OUT THERE

and it seems those girls did not just make a mistake... they are actually proud of being scumbag drunks.

we cant let people like that grow up and become nurses at mental hospitals or watch our kids or anything else and I hope although I doubt it will happen I HOPE anyone that publically says they are happy they are a loser gets treated like a loser....

Mistakes are one thing but not changing or finding enjoyment in rolling around in your own swill means you are a loser that deserves no respect.
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