What I’ve Ben thinking about today:

1.Social media as a moral compass…shows the compass might be broken.
2.What’s in a name? A lot, according to this judge.
3.Protect your personal brand(s).

1. As much as I love social media, one of the biggest fears I have had and continue to have is how we are being robbed of / robbing people of privacy—and losing a little bit of humanity along the way.

We don’t really think anything of snapping a photo with people in the background or, in some cases, of people themselves. Two seconds later that photo and those people are being seen by thousands of people on your social channels of choice. In some cases that random stranger is you. Ever wonder how many other people’s facebook feeds you have inadvertently appeared in?

And in some cases, as we’ve talked about here before, ‘hiding’ behind social channels removes some inhibitions and causes us to be more critical, more judging than we would be in ‘real’ life. The most recent case in point is the child care worker who took pictures of kids at the daycare and posted them to their Instagram account. And no, we’re not talking about ‘hey, look how cute my kids are’ posts. We’re talking about making fun of a two-year-old with a speech development issue, left in a high chair so he wouldn’t run around – see for yourself.

The mom found out about this when she saw the picture on the workers Instagram account. Could you imagine seeing something like this, with your kid? What would you do? How much rage would you be feeling? And what’s wrong with the worker’s friend who liked the photos???

This is an interesting point in the evolution of the human race. We have nothing to police our behavior, nothing to show us what should and shouldn’t be done on social media outside of our own moral compass. And so far, in the last eight years, I wouldn’t say we’re exactly passing with flying colors.

2. The second coming. Do you know what the 387th most popular name in the United State is? According to the Social Security Administration it’s Messiah. Except for when you’re in the court room of Judge Lu Ann Ballew, in Cook County Tennessee.

Judge Ballew was presiding over a child support hearing between the parents of three-year-old Messiah DeShawn McCullough regarding the child’s last name. The judge, instead, ruled that Messiah’s name is reserved for Jesus Christ and the parents need to change Messiah to Martin. Which of course generates one big question: – is she allowed to do that? Did that just happen?

Regardless what you think of the validity of the name (hey, I was surprised it was popular as it was) this boils down to is a judge allowed to make rulings based on her religious beliefs? What if the kid had been named King or Jesus? The day we start subjectively mandating what we name our children is the day a lot of celebrities’ kids have to change their names.

3. Speaking of name changes. Maria Sharapova, until yesterday, was pursuing a name change during the U.S. Open to Maria Sugarpova to promote her candy company of the same name. She would’ve pulled a Chad Ocho Cinco for the two weeks during the tournament as well as wear apparel with the logo.

I heard her taking heat for this yesterday on Mike and Mike (Jemele Hill and Adnan Virk were hosting) mainly because this seemed a little over the top for the richest woman athlete in the world. From a marketing perspective it poses an interesting situation. We talk a lot about the importance of your personal brand, which really matters here because, well, she IS her brand. But changing her name and promoting Sugarpova – her OTHER brand – is also a move to promote and protect the brand. At its core the move would’ve been purely promotional for the Sugarpova brand, which, on a stage like this, you could argue the brand focus should be the Sharapova brand.

As it turns out Sharapova decided against the name change and is going a different direction to raise awareness for the Sugrapova brand by having glass trucks, filled with the candy, driven around the city during the tournament. But, you could also argue that just the mere discussion of changing her name did plenty to raise awareness for the brand. Did you know, before reading this, there was such a thing as Sugarpova candies? I didn’t. And I have to say, now I really want to try one.