On the 21st of September 2015, the Daily Mail published extracts from a biography about Ex-British Prime Minister David Cameron, called Call Me Dave, claiming that during his years in university, Cameron put one of his private parts inside a dead pig’s mouth as part of an initiation process for a private club at the university.
Soon thereafter referred to as Piggate, the scandal was dismissed by Cameron as “utter nonsense,” and was eventually overshadowed by the next scandal and wave of allegations about something else.
The magnitude of Piggate was not significant because it was Cameron’s word against another’s, but do you think that that would be the case in 30 years time if something like that were to happen now? Absolutely not. The incident would probably be saved somewhere on a phone or embedded in Snapchat memory or there would at least be a screenshot of it in someone’s old picture files; this is because dirt has evolved.
When Cameron and all other leaders and significant figures in societies all over the world were growing up, they were not in jeopardy of having one of their friends take a picture or a video of them doing any of the blasphemous things they did growing up. Therefore, most of the scandals that arise from the past about a leader’s activities are often dismissed.
This, though, will not be the case for essentially anyone born around the 80s and 90s. The fast-paced evolution of technology has made it possible to document essentially everything, and while binge drinking, substance abuse and promiscuity may be relatively more accepted in Western countries, the Middle East’s predominantly conservative nature raises a different issue. The issue of dirt.
Dirt is essentially material and or evidence that could be held against someone due to its inappropriate, illegal, immoral or simply embarrassing nature, and from the way it looks, there is an immense amount of dirt from the past decade or two stored around the world on phones, laptops and hard drives. With the exponential increase in the prevalence of dirt, it is only reasonable to assume that, by extension, an abundance of cases of blackmail and extortion are going to follow.
Why does this matter though? It matters because there is lack of acknowledgement that everything you do today will eventually catch up to you, will be used against you, and may even eventually affect future leadership around the world. Let’s take Egypt as an example. All the young men and women out there who have the capacity to be elected for any executive office have a much higher possibility of having someone somewhere have dirt of them; dirt that could be used to extort and blackmail them into doing favors or even dirt that could destroy someone’s campaign for office due to the Egyptian masses’ general intolerance for things such as drinking or promiscuity.
A generation of leaders is currently still in college and school, and with the evolution of pop culture, the internet and smart technology, we can expect to see so much of this dirt pop up on social media in the future, tarnishing reputations and eventually affecting power dynamics in the country.
At the same time, a generation of opportunistic people is also out there snapping and recording their friends’ potentially scandalous behavior, not knowing that in a decade or two this material could be used to extort, blackmail and bring down many people.
The gist is; social media is much stronger than you think, so regardless of the moral implications of the behavior you choose to engage in, keep in mind that the photo of you with a drink in your hand can come back to bite you in the ass in the future.