I've noticed over my years on the internet a serious lack of personal responsibility when it relates to posting. Being behind a computer screen gives some people a veil of anonymity to which they feel they can attack others without being held accountable. One thing that really blows me away is that people believe you can delete things from a blog entry or from a chat room and it is gone. Article after article will tell you that NOTHING is ever deleted.
There are things that were posted about me when I worked at Sony Online Entertainment as a Game-Master for Everquest that I wish could be removed. Just Google search GM Salonafinn. There they are in all their glory. It would be nice if some of it was gone. But guess what? They won't be. Even the victims of suicide have had their photos that were on the internet used as ad photos for dating sites.
As someone on the internet today, people need to take individual responsibility for what they share. If you join a blog, or a message board and you select the profile picture, you agree to participate, coming back later and demanding that the board is some how responsible for your face being out there associated with a particular view on a topic, is indeed a mistake. We all grow and change our minds. Maybe one day we fully support PETA and post lots of blog posts and messages about them. We then find out they actually euthanize more animals than most kill shelters and we rethink that position. We can certainly post our new position but expecting all content ever published regarding our alliance with PETA to be stricken from the web is ridiculous.
There are only two things in life we can really control. What we say and what we do. When people are caught in a situation that implicates them, sometimes it is a bitter pill to swallow to understand it's not the ISP, or the computer, the chat room manager or the blog author who is responsible for our face being on the web. That is a decision we made.
That being said I wanted to offer a few tips for participating online with a bit more privacy without throwing a tantrum.
- If you're not out in life, don't be out on the web
- Use a pseudonym
- Use a avatar
- If you don't want your mom to see it, don't put it on the web
Remember, once it is out there on the web, you're probably never going to get it completely off.