Our Actions Now Effect Us Later: Antonella Barba, MySpace, Facebook

antonellabarba1459The blogosphere is abuzz with Antonella Barba, an American Idol contestant of Season 6. It appears that earlier this week some racy pictures (NSFW) of the fairly attractive Idol-wanna-be surfaced on the net ranging from college-fun-party pictures to wet t-shirt shots to porn. Now it’s important to note that most of these pictures – the nude/porn pictures and most likely the wet t-shirt photos – are doctored…outright fake.

MSNBC Writes in an interview with

Well, in the interim, another scandal, racy photos of a semifinalist on the Internet. But, wait there is more x-rated pictures possibly of the same semifinalist. The semifinalist Antonella Barba (ph), who survived the first round of eliminations from viewer voting, despite a tepid response from the judges.

Photographs of Miss Barba posing in a wet t-shirt or topless, or otherwise scantily clad, surfaced last Friday, as evidently did she. Many appear to be from her own website, though Miss Barba has not commented. But then several more pictures came out of someone engaged in a sexual act. We have cropped the photo. We can’t really describe what she is doing in there. Whether or not these images are also of Miss Barba, eliciting the analyst a friend named Amanda Collucio (ph), who tells the “Newark Star Ledger” that, quote, the really bad ones are not her. I have studied them. It is not her nose. She has never had acrylic nail tips in her life. She is the least slutty person I know.

MSNBC goes on to say

Listen, the comment from the show’s executive producer that he was unaware of these photos apparently preceded this stuff over the weekend. But Mr. Lithgow said, also, we have really good background checks everybody, and we deal with that every season. It’s sad, isn’t it, that your best friends are the ones that come forward with information that will go to Smoking Gun, or put your photographs on the web…

The college party pictures, however, are undoubtedly real and one photo that I’m sure is somewhat regrettable to the Idol contestant is one showing Antonella and her friends “topless” on the beach but ‘hiding’ the important bits with their hands. She’s 20. Antonella has a good time like hundreds of thousands of other teenagers in the world, is this so bad? Well, not the parties in and of themselves but the exposure of pictures and party habits that people have while young may very well influence our job prospects and privacy in the future. I’m not saying what Antonella did was necessarily wrong, she’s just an example what so many do without realizing it.

While teaching a Web Expressions class two years ago at Plymouth State University, I found out about Facebook, the social website that’s taken the college world by storm. I, curious, created an account and poked around. I was blown away by the number of students from our campus alone that were members of the site. What suprised me even more was the reckless abandon that those students posted pictures for all the world to see. What was even more surprising was the amount of party pictures being posted. Everything from scantily clad photos, to underaged drinking, to drug usage. Do these students have any idea that information posted on the web is heavily searched and findable by potential employers and co-workers?

As we leave our younger years, step over the fence into old-ville, and turn our minds towards more professional endeavors; our pasts will haunt us. Moreso than our parents’ past due to the ease of data transport and storage on the web. Those party pictures, those half-nude poses, those wild parties are extremely easy to track down these days and as we apply for jobs or attempt to join contests like American Idol that thrust us into the spotlight, things will inevitably surface. Our employers and co-workers are much more likely to Google “the new guy” to see what they’re all about.

So, if you are one of the many that has a Facebook or MySpace account…or, heck, know someone that does, be careful with those pictures!