Angela Harris
Did you hear the one about the basketball team owner who ran his mouth and incited an entire franchise to turn on him? It is an interesting story. Donald Sterling, owner of the L.A. Clippers, made statements during a phone conversation with his girlfriend that were bigoted and racist in nature. The private conversation was recorded and later released. When Sterling’s statements made it to mainstream media, people began calling for his head. In the wake of the released recordings, Sterling has been banned from the National Basketball Association and fined $2 million.

Why bring this hot button up? It is certainly not to discuss whether what he said was right or wrong. That one is a no brainer — he was wrong. The interesting point in this stems from the private conversation becoming a public matter that led to what seems to be significant damage to Sterling’s business.

I think it is important to learn something from this, especially in light of your own business.



It’s time to decide what digital footprint you leave behind. What is important to you and crucial to who you are? It’s not time to sit quietly or never have another opinion because it may be controversial. Instead, it is time to consider what digital footprint you are leaving behind by the things you say in private and publicly. If it helps, think of yourself as a limited public figure. Is what you are saying or typing important enough to risk possible harm to your image, your message, or your company? If it is, let it rip; but if it’s not, reconsider.The truth of the matter is we live in a digital world. Often folks discuss and fret about their environmental footprint, but when is the last time you considered your digital footprint? If you take any action on a device, it is recorded, logged, or tracked. I am not talking about conspiracy theories or run for the hills and go back to the age of candles, but it is time to be concerned with what digital trail you are leaving behind for yourself and your business. As we see in the Sterling case, personal and business go hand-in hand. With the digital age, it is next to impossible to do things in your private life and assume they won’t have an affect on your public life. Consider Paula Deen and what her personal statements from the past cost her publicly.

Watch yourselves out there. The digital world is an exciting and scary place. Just ask the guy who was recently fired for making inappropriate comments on his personal Twitter account.