Hey Pandora — no need to fix that lock. The technology is out, and we can’t close that box if we tried.

I apologize in advance for using a basketball reference, but most people understand the concept of the “full court press.” That’s where a team doesn’t concede an inch of the court, and pressures the ball at every moment, trying to force a steal or a turnover.

For teams not used to seeing “organized chaos” in action, it can be devastating. When the players executing the defense are that much faster and quicker to the ball, opposing coaches sometimes cheat in practice. I remember doing drills on my team where we moved the ball up the court against seven defenders. When game time came around, handling five was a snap.

What if the other team wasn’t just bringing five, but five-hundred? Five-thousand? A sea of humanity, on the playing field? Let’s just say controlling the ball gets nearly impossible.

When it comes to protecting institutional reputation, the rules have changed by orders of magnitude. This is still a business of relationships, and knowing key people can give you the edge in getting your message across. The problem today is that the genie is out of the bottle. There are no real “gate-keepers” anymore, and to be honest, there haven’t been for quite some time.

The “tipping point” emerged a few years ago, when tabloids started getting information that “panned out.” Emboldened by the truth, it was nigh impossible to shut them down, because they didn’t care about whether you liked them or not. Consequently, the “publicity culture” adapted, and used the new rules to create celebrities that were famous for being famous, and nothing else.

The genie boldly left the bottle about the time I started blogging. (I’m not taking all the credit — I just happen to be part of the Blog Boomer generation.) Now, little tidbits about anything can eventually hit critical mass, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it.

It might be a slow-burning misunderstanding about a well-vetted idea. It could be an innocent mistake that gets trumpted worldwide before you even know about it. It could be the break-up rumor that just won’t go away. Or, it could be any of the political blogs that get traction after a couple of days.

Welcome to the brave new world of image management. Pass the popcorn. We’re all a part of the full-court press.