Home > writing > What’s private about the internet?

What’s private about the internet?

Not much.

An article on the New York Times this morning delivered a pretty sobering message. You can find it online here (you’ll need to be subscribed, but it’s still free, I think):


It talks about how one injudicious picture or comment on Facebook or in an email can haunt a person forever. Employers can search for any reference about an applicant. It could as easily be a reader, reviewer, or book buyer.

The article stressed that the information could be posted in a private area and passed along innocently, or otherwise, to a more public venue. It could even be in comments posted by someone else about you. Good luck getting it back. There is a growth industry in internet reputation restorers.

Here are just a few examples of things writers might beware. Some may write a type of material under a pen name they wouldn’t want connected to their other works. An off-hand comment or off-color joke might get you. Then there’s that lady at the USDA that went through a difficult period because someone posted something out of context, and now the fellow who posted it is in hot soup. Be careful what you release, even in what you think is a protected environment.

Categories: writing Tags: ,
  1. July 23, 2010 at 5:11 am

    I am amazed by the amount of personal information people post, publicly. they leave themselves open to who knows what, including some deranged stalker. If they have the idea that they not the kind of person a stalker would be attracted to, they seemed to forget, stalkers are NOT reasonable. too many times an innocent person who never believed it would happen to them turns up dead. Knowing how many perverts exist out there, I shudder every time I see posts from proud parents or grandparents of beautiful children with enough information to lead right to them.

  2. July 23, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    It’s scary and a warning to the wise to be cautious. Thanks for the reminder.

  3. Rhonda Trent
    July 30, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    The longer I live and more I see in this world, there is nothing much left that is private. I heard a news story this morning on the way to the gym that discussed the industry of government espionage (CIA type entities) and Google collaborating to discover “future trends” by tracking traffic, comments, information, etc. that filters through internet sources. The one area that seems to be the area of concern in being able to definitively determine these trends (which are projected to assist in world markets, politics, trade, etc.)is the population of those that are not connected to internet sources. Seems they are having difficulty determining what these kinds of people are interested in and involved in. One comment related to this population of people noted that most of those that are not connected tend to be in the lower socio-economic cultures of our society. Just wondering what this will mean for poor people if those of us who are connected because we “have” and are connected. Once again, I believe that the less fortunate will lose even more of their voice in today’s society not to mention more of our deluded sense that we have privacy in our individual little worlds.

  4. November 3, 2010 at 5:11 am

    A timely reminder. They say never send in an email or post on the internet anything you wouldn’t say in public. Good rule to follow.
    Thanks for sharing.

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