We’ve all been there:
Last night was a great party that spun out of control and left just about too many blank holes in the memory.
Next day we wake up with a smashing headache and a semi-destroyed flat that must be cleaned before your partner (or parents) return home.
No, this post is not about how making your party public on Facebook is a bad idea. It is about the similarities I have noticed between a party gone wrong and the current state of online social behaviour.
Our digital foot print
The problem is most people do not understand that nothing on the Internet is private and anything you do on the Internet stays for good!
As a seasoned digital professional you may laugh at the mistakes of the lesser web-savvy majority, but I bet that when you started out you behaved in the same fashion and you may not have considered that whatever you did back in the days may still be hanging around.
Looking around myself I can find traces of my own online activities going as far back as to New Media Underground Festival 2000, that’s a time-jump of 10 years, back to before the dot-com crash. Our electronic history, our lifestream sticks and there is very little you can do about it.
But the Internet is no longer a carefree playground. It has grown up and is a professional, global and very influential network. While very few employers would have tried to trace your digital history 5 years ago, today more and more employers are actively screening candidates in the social media sphere as it has become much more valuable due to the amount of digital history we leave behind with every click we take and every post we make.
Who you gonna call?
That is the question hardly anybody is asking themselves, yet this is one of the most serious Internet-related questions ever. We have seen the first snippets of the problem and it has started at the very top. One example being how George W Bush’s team tried to pretty up what was said about him on Wikipedia.
Wikipedia may not even be the best example as you actually can change the content. With most digital historical entries you cannot.
I have no answer. I really don’t and I am surprised I haven’t come across any company that offers digital history demolishing services for the wider public.
Maybe it is just too difficult to offer such service for a price people are willing to pay, but for how long? As our average lifestream gets longer and more embedded in anything we do I think there will be an increased demand for such services.
Consider this quote from the article Facets of Web 3.0:
People Search will replace the social networks that are most popular fashion in this generation of web. For searching about any person, just type the name and all the information related to regarding person would be displayed with some attached tags. If would display the total wiki profile.