As more aspects of our lives shift online, the internet storing more and more about us
By Esinathy Sibanda
Like the proverbial elephant, the internet has a great appetite in form of infallible and durable memory. Year on year it grows, swelling with news reports, videos, photographs, you name it; an intangible brain that millions of users can tap into any moment.
As more aspects of our lives shift online, the internet storing more and more about us, becoming an abyss of eternal archive that has potential to dig out things we least expect.
In fact, we are the ones clicking and tapping, feeding it more and more about us, fulfilling the old adage ‘he who carves a path doesn’t know the back is crooked’.
The internet that is a friend today can easily become the enemy tomorrow; the good servant but at the same time be a hostile witness.
As past identities become stickier for those entering adulthood, it is not just individuals who suffer, but the whole generation and society at large.
In a world where the past haunts the present, young people may calcify their identities, perspectives, and political positions at an increasingly young age It is highly probable that the end of your digital life will spell the end of your life as
you know it.
This is because your online reputation is so connected to your real-life reputation and therein lays the power ascribed to the internet.
If anything is disregarded, it should be the likelihood that anything written online will not be found in the future.
It doesn’t stop at that; these things can be used to hurt you, your carrier, ambitions and even relationships.
One shocking detail about sharing content online is that the internet doesn’t discriminate, it doesn’t distinctions between what’s done for a bad or good cause; it saves them all and leaves a trial behind: a footprint.
Call it a digital footprint!
This is a trace of all your digital activities. Do a little test and type your name in a search engine, then go through what the digital world knows or thinks about you. Interestingly this not only covers posts, tweets and uploads, it also includes internet searches and other website activities.
However, what is beyond your control is how the online community uses your data – who downloads it, copies it and makes it available elsewhere. It may involve an effort as little as taking a screenshot and uploading it to an online storage – where it can be neither damaged nor lost.
You would be very wrong to think your activities on social media or generally the internet don’t matter.
In a world where the job market is competitive and recruiters use various metrics to streamline prospective employees, something as negligible as a caustic social media post can turn out to be what ruins the chances of a bright and qualifies person.
What could be simply having been a careless post, tweet, or video might have long- term negative effects.
For all its worth, your internet history may turn out to be a weapon, and living with bad publicity as definitely not what anyone desires.
It is important to ask questions such as: Is this necessary? If this goes viral, what is the implication? What does this mean for my career, reputation and relationships?
Perhaps convincing answers to those questions should be sufficient enough to decide whether or not go ahead and click the send button, because the internet does not forget.
Esinathy Sibanda is features writer for The Mail Online. Feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org. Cantact her at (263) 77 937 8696.
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