I’ll declare that “Scoldism”—apparently I’ve committed a neologism with that one—is an especially pernicious and aggressive form of sanctimony. The say-anything, reveal-everything ethos of the web provides a target-rich environment for scolds.
As scoldism thrives, what will happen? Perhaps folks will temper their online behavior. Individuals might do that as they mature, but the web milieu will always harbor the rhetorical style known as “Too Much Information.” That’s because teenagers are a renewable resource.
Perhaps only the powerful will be able to control their information. (Where are George W. Bush’s driving records?)
Or perhaps the world will gradually learn to forgive certain indiscretions, youthful or otherwise. The second directive of “Forgive and forget” is no longer possible, so we might need to develop the capacity to forgive anyway. Call it “Forgive and whatever.”
I’m not promoting idiocy and I’m not dismissing consequences. Rather, I’m encouraging folks to recognize that lives have narrative arcs. Can you remember your most foolish moment? Is it on Facebook?