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Survey: 50% of Americans are cell phone video spies

A survey suggests that half of all Americans would be prepared to use their smartphones to shoot videos of people in embarrassing, compromising, or just plain weird situations.

You know you're one of them. Please, just admit it.

You see someone famous kissing someone who is not their spouse in Starbucks, and your first instinct is to whip out your cell phone and shoot the video in an act of star-flagellation. You see someone take a pratfall or merely pick their nose with their thumb, and you're all over them with video evidence. How else can you yuck up life with your friends?

I am delighted, therefore, to bring you (semi-)scientific proof that you are one of 50 percent of the American population: the Cell Phone Video Spy club.

Research carried out (in secret, no doubt) by Harris Interactive shows that you Cell Phone Smileys would think nothing of filming the most embarrassing, the most excruciating and, of course, the most sexy life episodes.

Is someone watching you? Is someone filming you? CC Miss Chatter/Flickr

The survey was performed on behalf of Qumu, which seems to be a company that provides-- yes, truly-- businesses with platforms for video.

Please try guessing what people's favorite secret video imagining might be? This research claims that the respondents would have the fewest qualms shooting, um, "people in embarrassing outfits."

Why on earth should that be filmed in secret, one wonders? Most people who wear embarrassing outfits don't think they're embarrassing. They think they're Gucci, Dolce and Gabbana, or The Very Same Dress That Kate Middleton Wore Last Week. Or whatever she's called these days.

Are people really so small as to wish to secretly shoot someone in embarrassing clothes? (Well, yes.)

The second notion that seems to excite the Cell Phone Smileys involves athletes at sporting events. But again, athletes at sporting events expect to be filmed. They are there to be filmed. They live to be filmed. Why the need for secrecy? Has our national paranoia become so great that we have become entirely closeted human beings?

I have always been concerned that America is far more comfortable with violence than, say, sex. This survey does nothing to disabuse me of that notion.

For among the more popular responses were that people would cheerily shoot secret cell phone videos of "a sexy waitress in a restaurant," "a shirtless hunk mowing the lawn," or-- are you sure you're ready for this?-- "cheerleaders."

And in seventh place was something so twisted, so perverted, so totally inhuman that I am not sure I should reveal it. But I will: "Boss or co-worker sneaking a second doughnut."

The survey didn't stop there. These Qumu people also wanted to know whether Americans would like to see co-workers post these sad, YouTubey cell phone videos on the company intranet or shared-files server. Of course they would. A persuasive 57 percent would allegedly adore this.

They would especially adore it, if the videos were of a co-worker being on the receiving end of a prank. Or, sigh, someone imitating the boss.

You will collapse with one serious emotion or another when you hear that Ray Hood, CEO of Qumu, is there to help workers get the full enjoyment from their Cell Phone Smileyism.

For, in a press release, he offered: "It's becoming critical for corporations to provide employees with an easy-to-use video platform that can manage the video-sharing process."

Yes, it's absolutely critical. Rather like, some might think, the mental state of the 50 percent of Americans that believes surreptitious filming is an indicator of a vibrant soul.

However, one has to find a positive note to counteract this desperation. Here it is: It just might be that someone films you doing something very silly. They then post it to YouTube. The world loves it so much that you become a meme, a star, famous beyond your brightest imaginings.

Letterman calls. So does Leno. Conan O'Brien attempts to mimic you (badly). You are asked to be a guest judge on "The X Factor" (it needs the publicity). And all this because someone secretly filmed you making out with a Macy's mannequin. It's worth it, no?