Text Messages: Digital Lipstick on the Collar

Publication: New York Times

Author: Laura M. Holson


12/08/2009 - Text messages are the new lipstick on the collar, the mislaid credit card bill. Instantaneous and seemingly casual, they can be confirmation of a clandestine affair, a record of the not-so-discreet who sometimes forget that everything digital leaves a footprint.

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In a recent survey of 2,300 adults about social networking, the Pew Internet and American Life Project found that 12 percent said they had shared information online that they later regretted posting. Posting on a social network is not the same as sending a text message. But Lee Rainie, director of the Pew project, contends it is evidence of an overall cultural shift in which people have become increasingly careless about revealing personal information they cannot take back.

“It is one thing to write a personal note to someone who shares it with her two best friends,” said Mr. Rainie. “It is another thing to text your undying affection and become a laughingstock. What feels intimate and anonymous at the time, perhaps, really isn’t. It can be shared widely.”

Read the full article Text Messages: Digital Lipstick on the Collar on the New York Times' Web site.

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