I just got finished reading one of those long NY Times articles that make you feel smart when you finish them. It was all about how the internet is making it impossible for us to forget and thus forgive our past indiscretions. Having posted our worst moments to Facebook, we can never live them down.
I think that the premise of the article is interesting and there were several intriguing points of view incorporated. What I was surprised about, though, was the fact that the most obvious solution was not mentioned. The article detailed various ways to work around the issue of online privacy and the dangers of a legacy of compromising photos, emails and tweets. Rosen (the author) discussed technological solutions that would allow data to self destruct after a certain period of time, and legal solutions that would allow you to sue someone for posting pictures of you doing body shots with a visiting sales rep. Other than the idea of having an electronic warning system to tell you when you are about to post something you may regret, the solutions were decidedly post-hoc.
Rosen concludes by saying that we will have to become more forgiving, since we can’t forget. He wants us “…to learn new forms of empathy.” Okay, I’m willing to be conscious of placing someone’s youthful folly in its proper context. But what I want to know is, why isn’t the increasingly porous nature of privacy driving a change in the way we conduct ourselves? Why aren’t we behaving (before emailing, tweeting, updating) better?