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Business - Written by on Thursday, June 5, 2008 11:28 - 8 Comments

If you’re going to be naked, you better be buff – A video diary

One of my favourite lines from Don Tapscott’s Wikinomics presentation is: “if you’re going to be naked, you better be buff”. The basic idea behind the phrase is transparency. With Web 2.0 and all the tools that come along with it, different organizations and professions are exposed to an increased level of scrutiny. While many people’s first thought is that companies are the main ones being affected – think the recent focus around corporate social responsibility – other professions have also been unable to escape it. While they may have been able to get away with certain actions in the past, people are now equipped with the tools to expose the truth and ‘fight back’.

The particular case I’m thinking about (and many of you may already be familiar with) is the initial altercation between a Baltimore police officer – Officer Rivieri and a 14 year old boy – Eric Bush. This video initially surfaced on YouTube in February 2008 and has since caused quite a stir.
You can watch the original video here: … but there’s more to this story.

The video garnered a lot of attention on YouTube and soon news agencies were starting to report the story:

This police officer was a 17 year veteran of the force – and it will be difficult to ever find out how many others he’s treated this way. But while people wouldn’t naturally associate the advent of Web 2.0 to increased transparency in the police force now regular citizens, in this case teenagers, have the tools to record the incidence (probably on a cell phone) and upload it to YouTube for the world to see – literally.

Since the video has surfaced Officer Rivieri has been suspended with pay and is under investigation.
After viewing the video online (and seeing the clip in the news) a second individual came forward with a new video of Officer Rivieri, showing that it wasn’t the first time he had lost his cool.

In officer Rivieri’s case – he even mentioned at the very end of the first video what I think was supposed to be “I better not see this video on YouTube”… while being aware of that possibility Rivieri still had no idea of the ramifications this video would bring about.


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Mike Dover
Jun 5, 2008 12:51

If you look at the comments on youtube, the majority think that the office went over the line, but almost all agreed that the kids was being mouthy.

I wonder what people that have actually been beaten down by police using billy clubs think about the “poor kid” getting yelled at.

Komail Mithani
Jun 5, 2008 18:21

This is very disheartening because our law enforcement is funded by taxpayers to “maintain the peace and uphold our justice system”. The kids were just skateboarding in a public place and truly just being 14-year-old kids. The officer could have handled the entire situation in a much more professional and rational manner. This just goes to show that if someone is recording you, you better hope it does not reach the Internet.

Congratulations Officer Rivieri you’ve just got a crash course on Web 2.0.

Susan Scrupski
Jun 5, 2008 23:52

Wow. Am I ever encouraging my son to always have his flip camera locked and loaded, in the event something like this crops up in his teenage world. Thanks Ming for posting this.

Ming Kwan
Jun 6, 2008 14:10

You know Susan, you make a really good point. We’re so used to technology because it’s been integrated into our lives so seamlessly, sometimes you take for granted that your cell phone has a camera and can record video and all those other things. But little things like that are really huge game changers when coupled with social networks or video sharing sites like Facebook and YouTube – where regular people can post interesting things. It’s amazing the stuff you can find on the web.

Web 2.0: The No Arseholes Rule : Tree of Knowledge
Jun 7, 2008 12:14

[...] post at Wikinomics about how Web 2.0 radically increases the transparency of the actions of public figures – [...]

Lawrence Chen
Jun 9, 2008 12:13

This reminds me of the UCLA student that was shot with a Taser by UCPD officers. I agree with Komail that the officer should have handled the situation in a much more rational matter.

In case you are not familiar with the UCLA incident, refer to this:



Ming Kwan
Jun 9, 2008 18:28

Lawrence, that’s a great example. I’ve seen that video before – thanks for posting the link. Here are two other examples I’ve come across (that have also made it into the news).

Polish man tasered to death at Vancouver airport

A teacher was charged for body slamming a student

Public Relations is spin. | Social Media Group
Nov 11, 2008 6:38

[...] Change the content: One of my favourite sayings is, “If you’re going to be naked you better be buff.” It means that you can’t change [...]

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