The old generation knows this one:
‘If a tree falls in the forest but nobody is around to hear it, does it make a sound?’
But the new generation has responded with this:
Pics or It Didn’t Happen
With cell phones armed with cameras at our beck and call 24/7 it’s just too easy to document every aspect of our life…. and then share it. Posting pictures and thoughts on the internet is our new way of validating our experiences. Social media platforms are more than eager to make sharing easier, faster and more automated.
Who hasn’t taken a picture of that awesome plate of food, that wild party, or even that crazy thing you never thought you’d do? In real time you can snap and share anything. But it wasn’t always like that.
In days of old (like the archaic 1990’s ), there was a waiting process. First, buy your film. Take your pictures (blindly without a preview) …. and return the film to be processed. After a few days head back to the store and pick up your pictures. Then came the ritual of looking over your photographs, hoping and praying that they all came out OK. Chances are half were blurry or over-exposed. Of those remaining, you could find a few that were worthy of your photo album. When it came time to share, you’d haul your photo book around to your friends and family. Those who preferred slides could project their vacations on the living room wall. Want Grandma to see your graduation? Send pictures in the mail of course. There was plenty of time to reflect and edit what the public saw of your vacation and wild parties. If you did have anything risque, you only had to worry about the developer at the drug store possibly seeing your embarrassment.
But today, instant sharing is effortless. It’s so easy that it’s hard to think twice about what we should or should not share. Life happens, but do you need to snap a photo of everything? Are you going to spend your experiences peering through the screen of your camera?
Think of the internet as a giant black hole. Every time you hit that share button, your words and images go into that hole. No one knows exactly where they go, or how long they will be there. The internet is being cataloged, whether you gave it permission or not.
- Anyone can save your pictures, words or video using screen-grab programs.
- Employers, schools, governments, lawyers and news organizations can track you down.
- You could become a meme tomorrow (may be cool, but maybe tragic)
- Your parents and relatives are just a click away from what you’ve posted.
- No app or website that claims to be secure… is.
- The internet is not going away anytime soon, so what you put on it will be around for years to come. Even after your death.
Case in point: Directory James Gunn was fired from Disney for Tweets he made nearly 10 years ago. Your internet legacy is your most vital asset.
More than ever, the way you communicate on the internet is your electronic diary. There is no lock and key to it. You can’t keep it under your pillow or in a safe. There are a few social networks that can give you very tight controls over who sees your content. But then your cousin, little brother or even parents could turn you into the Star Wars Kid if you’re not careful.
It’s not to say that the internet is a place of darkness and mistrust. Just be aware of what you say and do on it, because it is a permanent record.
Author: Rick Wiley
Rick is a 5x Dad, Husband, Web Developer, Net Security Nut and all around old geek.