Online is forever


In the fast-evolving landscape of 21st century technology, the ideas and boundaries of privacy are being constantly challenged.

This is due to the incredible amount of information about people that is being digitally stored at any given moment, and the ease of access that someone can have to that information.

Employees have been fired because of something they’ve done in their “private life” that’s been digitally recorded. Powerful technology companies can keep tabs on where an individual is at all times. Even the clumsiest Internet user can find information on a previously unknown person with a few minutes of light web searching.

Privacy has always been a vague abstraction that people have recognized exists without making a clear definition of what it means. And the image will only become more blurred in the future.

So while definitions of privacy continue to be sorted out, it is important to remember that people make an effort to present themselves in the best of light.

This seems obvious, of course. People’s attempt to show themselves favorably has been a natural human function since the beginning of time. However, in a more familiar, accepted environment, like online, it’s easy to lapse into informal attitudes.

For example, in an incident last week a Florida State student posted a disparaging comment about Florida A&M on her Twitter account that came under heavy fire by many FAMU students.

What is interesting about the incident is how quickly students were able to use tweets the student made in months prior showing she holds some sort of grudge against the FAMU community.

What is less interesting is how quickly things devolved into a series of jabs and arguments for the sake of arguing. The various insults that resulted from this incident will be on the digital record for a while, and it is certainly within the realm of reason that a future employer would find this information.

We have to remember that our behavior can be monitored at almost anytime, and even if we are not our “best,” we need to at least be aware of this presence.