Put Honesty and Integrity Above Everything Else

By Daniel Scocco

A couple of days ago I was reading The World is Flat, by Thomas Friedman, and I came across a very interesting passage:

When individuals are empowered to inform themselves on all these new ways, it is enormously flattening, but also enormously frightening. Why? Because people will be able to drill down for information about you and me that used to be either impossible or very difficult to locate. (…) You never know anymore what kind of electronic footprints your are leaving in databases that you assume are private and will now, or soon will be, searchable.

After reading it I realized that the message is particularly important to web workers. It is not rare to find bloggers, website owners and online marketers trying to make money or become popular online using controversial – let alone unethical – techniques.

Just think about sploggers and content thieves, spammers, scammers, shady affiliate marketers and so on. Sure they might be earning some money on the short run, but at what cost? One slip and you will ruin your reputation for good. And there are no erasers on the Internet.

Here is what Thomas Friedman concluded:

Live your life honestly, because whatever you do, whatever mistakes you make, will be searchable one day.

So the next time a “smart” idea comes into your mind, think twice. Honesty and integrity should come above everything else.



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30 Responses to “Put Honesty and Integrity Above Everything Else”

  • Billy Shaw

    Why the silence so long?

  • Billy Shaw

    I finally got out of that stinkin’ fuckin’ PRISON called Maghaberry in April 2011. So now will someone listen?

  • Billy Shaw

    What? Again?

  • Billy Shaw

    Love your neighbour as much as you think you love yourself and you shouldn’t go too far wrong. But, remember never hate yourself because it’ll show.

  • Billy Shaw

    Is anyone out there listening?

  • Billy Shaw

    Too much to say in this small space. Watch out for my “book”.
    Watch billyshaw136 youtube and read the original introduction by Altar Ego. (last part intro missing but soon to be replaced by slightly modified intro.)

  • medyum

    One of the biggest things that can come back to haunt you is your past, and things you have said. With the internet thats even truer as things are archived potentially indefinitely.

  • Billy Shaw

    Honesty is the most important thing in humankind. When one is dishonest they are lying to themselves and humanity. My wife, Mrs. Khadija Shaw is at this moment lying to the authorities in N. Ireland and being believed. She is living under the advantage of that lie. I seem to be able to do nothing about it. billyshaw@hotmail.com. Please contact me if you think you can help me in my predicament.
    Yours in absolute truth,
    Billy Shaw

  • BK

    I agree with you on putting honesty and integrity above everything else; these are the values which I treasure greatly. I am constantly reminding myself, “honesty and integrity are what I do when no one is watching.”

  • jakes

    i agree with u…honesty is required….just getting all ideas from the other guy proves no innovation

  • Oliver Taco

    Live your life honestly, because whatever you do, whatever mistakes you make, will be searchable one day.

    Uh, Tom Friedman *would* think that way. In reality you should live your life honestly because honesty is a virtue and it’s proper to seek a virtuous life.

    On a more practical note, as someone above pointed out, we depend on habits to navigate our days. It’s easier to keep track of what you said and did if you’re honest while doing so.

    -OT

  • Michael VanDeMar

    Honesty should be the course of action because of who you are, not because your actions may be recorded on the internet.

    @TRCoach – while in essence that may be true, honesty is also a habit like so many other things, and practicing it, regardless of the motives, can only help someone in the long run. If the fact that their words are actually recorded for posterity helps to remind people that they should be honest, then let it. Eventually it will work its way into their nature in one way or another.

  • Greg

    I don’t have a degree in anything and I’ve never heard of this writer, so I’m maybe not very qualified to comment.

    But if he really used the phrase “suck on this” in a foreign-policy context, it’s definitely simplistic and most people I know would say it smacks of ignorance and arrogance.

    It’s a case of any publicity being good publicity though, because I’ve just put it on my list of books to check out when I start my Christmas shopping next week…

  • Daniel

    Kevin, I am only half way through the book, but I really don’t agree with you.

    Perhaps instead of saying he is this or that you could elaborate more extensively your arguments, illustrating what aspects of his analysis you consider simplistic and ignorant?

    I have a degree in International Economics, so I will find the discussion pretty interesting.

  • Kevin Lyda

    Lots of people win awards. But Friedman’s view of the world – particularly in that book – is simplistic and ignorant.

    Honesty and integrity matter and I don’t disagree with what you quote. But please do not make the mistake of viewing him as a serious or informed commentator. His suggestion to “suck on this” is ignorant foreign policy advice. Saying “the next 6 months are critical” for four years is a guide to self-improvement.

  • Web Design in Canada

    One of the biggest things that can come back to haunt you is your past, and things you have said. With the internet thats even truer as things are archived potentially indefinitely.

  • Wayne Liew

    This is indeed a true fact. Living a life on the Internet (offline as well) will mean putting up your reputation to a place where it will be exposed to anything.

    Remember Ashwin Khanna? I don’t think he will revive his blog or start anything under his own name any more because of the famous $2500 scam that he had done.

    Some scammers like the owners of all the splogs are good enough to hide or mask their details bu for some dumb ones, they just leave the ass open for people to slap. There goes their reputation…

  • gLf

    I completely agree with you. You are one person, both on-line and off-line. Honesty and integrity above all, but for you, not for something that someday someone could say about you.

    P.S.
    I finished “the world is flat” some days ago, and I think it’s an interesting book that explain with simple words what is changing and where the world is going to go…I suggest it to everyone who wants to know a “little” more about what’s happening around him.

  • Thomas Sinfield

    and it will always come back and haunt you anyway. I think honest and integrity is the most important thing that a person has.

  • Daniel

    @TRCoach, I agree completely. Honesty and integrity should be there because you actually believe in them.

    On the Internet people tent to reason differently though. It is like no-men’s land. That was the topic of the post, to give a little reminder that the online world is just an extension to the offline one, and principles apply here all the same.

  • Daniel

    Kevin, the guy won the Pulitzer Prize, is a columnist for the NY Times and has sold millions of books.

    You might not agree with his political orientation, but saying that is “generally an idea” is quite shocking to me.

  • Kevin Lyda

    Of course Thomas Friedman is generally an idiot. So be careful taking his advice.

  • TRCoach

    Honesty should be the course of action because of who you are, not because your actions may be recorded on the internet. There is always one person who knows what I have done and thats who matter’s the most, me. To thine own self be true.
    Thanks, TRCoach (Tom)

  • Mohsin

    Hell yeah! It’s easy to spot lying and devious bloggers and internet marketers. So if a dishonest idea to make quick buck comes to anyone’s mind, they should think twice. Because they are putting their reputation and integrity at stake.

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