The Internet is Forever

The Internet is Forever

We’ve all heard the horror story.

A high-level marketing exec, preparing for a transcontinental flight to Africa. Before takeoff she decides it would be clever to tweet some off-color remarks about AIDS and white privilege, then powers down her phone and nods off. Only to learn upon landing that the tweet went viral. She awakens to dozens of messages, but the damage is done. Her reputation is tarnished, her ego smashed, her career…ruined.

The Internet is forever.

That episode was among the earliest accounts of the web’s devastating power. Since then, it feels like some poor schmuck get flayed on the hour, every hour.

The college professor who blamed Hurricane Harvey as karma for the people of Texas voting for Trump. Yikes. Yeah, he doesn’t work at that school any longer.

Even the countless people who were blasted for posting tone-deaf selfies at Auschwitz, whose images and names can be found on the first results page of a simple Google search. They probably shouldn’t have done that.

The list of people doing dumb things is as old as time itself, yet it continues to grow every day.

The internet is pissed.

It wastes no time drumming up a witch hunt when someone screws up and makes a dumb decision. It rallies people like the villagers coming after Frankenstein, only instead of torches, they’re carrying laptops and they love single origin coffee.

So think. REALLY think. Is what you’re going to post worth it? Is it only funny/insightful to you and your friends? Does it contribute anything to mankind? Or is it an innocuous observation that could be misconstrued and wreck your life for real?

The internet DOES NOT CARE if you’re a good person.

It doesn’t care if you love your grandmother, or you’re always there at the charity 5Ks writing that check. You messed up, it knows and they will come.

But remember, you have a choice. You don’t have to hit POST or TWEET. There’s no gun to your head. You can take a few seconds and consider “is this a good idea?” If your first thought is “NO” or even “I’m not sure,” then listen to that. Trust the voice, because it is probably right.

The Internet is forever.