The permanent and temporary internet

I’ve mentioned this before, but the blog posts written about mass communication, media and journalism are complied on our class’s homepage on Rebel Mouse.  While browsing through this site reading some of the articles, I stumbled upon two articles written by my classmates addressing the permanence and temporary qualities of the internet.  Jenny wrote about how content on the internet is temporary and can be constantly updated making the internet far from permanent.  Tess took a different take by noticing how permanent some aspects of the ‘net are, including Facebook and other social medias we no longer use.

I, for one, think that there are many permanent aspects of the internet.  Sure, you can delete a tweet or Facebook status, but screenshots exist so they may really be gone.  Applications like the Wayback Machine, an internet archive of sorts, are available for users to see what websites looked like in the past.  Until reading Jenny’s blog, I didn’t know about this resource, but it helps preserve what used to exist on the internet.

The constant use of screenshots and applications like the Wayback Machine show that once something is out there, it stays out there.

This really resonates with me and I make sure to be careful of what I put out there on the web.  When I had to make my Twitter account public for a class, I wasn’t happy about it.  Not because I have secrets to hide nor do I have terrible things to say that I don’t want the world seeing, but because I could control who saw my tweets.  I could confirm or deny people based on whether or not I wanted them to see my tweets.  I no longer have that luxury and now anyone can see my tweets.

That’s fine because I think about my tweets before I send them, but others clearly don’t take as much time editing their posts before sending it out for the world to see, forever.

Turns out, I’m not being paranoid for no reason.  A girl with the name of “Cella” on Twitter learned the hard way that what you put on the internet is for all to see.

Cella was hired to work at Jet’s Pizza in Mansfeld, Texas and tweeted that she was not so excited to start her job the next day (with some expletives you can read here) but the story doesn’t end here.  Her soon-to-be boss saw the tweet and fired her over Twitter.  Ouch.

If Cella’s last name was listed on her Twitter account, I’m sure this infamous story would follow her around for a while.  Maybe not forever, but it would exist.

Justine Sacco isn’t so lucky.  After tweeting “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!” before getting on a flight, she created a problem for herself.  She was let go from her PR firm and was labeled as a racist by people around the world.

Sacco has a job now and the tweet isn’t overshadowing her skills as a public relations professional (though she struggled branding herself), this mistake is still out there.  It will continue to be out there when she applies for future jobs or when anyone types her name into Google for years to come.

I don’t want to become the next Justine Sacco so I’ll continue editing my tweets.

Before reading Jenny’s take, I saw the internet as a fairly permanent platform but she brought up some great points.  However, she brought up great points about the internet having the great ability to constantly edit– or delete– content on the internet.

For the news world, it is important that content can be constantly updated and changed to keep information accurate.  For my personal world, I find the internet more permanent and for that reason, I’ll try to keep my sass toned down.