Sunday, July 01, 2007

“Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever.” Napoleon Bonaparte

Not too long ago I listened to an On The Media radio broadcast about posting on the Internet. It was about a 17 year old girl who had voiced her opinion on the Iraq war. That alone does not seem to be very important. I mean we all take stands or have opinions on tons of subjects. However the difference was she posted her feelings in a comment field on a website. Years later she wanted to take that post down because when a possible employer did a search to see who she was and what she had written on the Internet using Google or Yahoo this comment came at the top of the list. She asked the site to remove her post and they said they never remove anything. Even if the site had complied it would not matter because search engines cache or store all this information in case the site disappears. So what does this tell us? When you post or add your name to a list or create a page in a social networking site like MySpace it stays out there even if you remove it. Many a teen writing now may reap the benefits or losses in the future because something said during younger days. It did occur to me that the girl could have started a blog or a site with enough information to reduce the impact of that one post. There is a flip side to this as well. The next generation emerging is not as concerned with privacy or wrongs done in other times. For them it is what they do now and not who or what they were five years ago. I know I am stereotyping here but generations do have certain major characteristics even if they are not shared by every single person.

So the main theme here is everything posted is permanent and not private so think before you post. To get the word out many Public Service Announcements have been created to get people to consider this phenomenon. I believe they are a little heavy handed but they do a nice job. Click on the video and you decide.

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