The Internet Never Forgets.

googleelephantWe live in a digital age where our photos, videos, and electronically written words all have an endless life of their own.

This was brought home recently on several occasions:

1. Nude photos of celebrities never intended for distribution are seen by all

2. Video of (former) Raven Ray Rice punching his now wife unconscious in an elevator of an AC Casino

3. Emails of Atlanta Hawks Owner making racists comments about their fan base.

Every day there are more examples of famous (and not so famous) people caught doing and saying stuff they wish hadn’t happened.

For them I have 2 pieces of advice:

1. Don’t do bad, foolish and/or dumb stuff in the first place
2. Don’t do bad, foolish and/or dumb stuff in a medium that can be captured electronically in any manner

Years ago before the digital age whenever someone in business wanted to send a nasty note to another person, however deserved, I always counseled, “Please don’t mail it today. Wait 48 hours and think again. A physical note lasts forever. The spoken word will fly away”. Obviously in a digital era the advice is even more relevant.

As a society, the need for greater digital surveillance is necessary. The recent anniversary of 9/11 reminds us that the world is a fragile place, and gruesome videos of beheaded Americans/Brits remind us all of the evil that remains in the world. But there is also subtle surveillance that we live with that has become part of daily life–EZ Pass, online purchases, cameras at traffic interesections, cookies that track our digital history. These are not evil per se (OK I am not a fan of cameras at intersections) but are merely an outgrowth of the digital world in which we live.

So here the 4 pieces of advice I have for all:

1. Never engage in an email argument—There is no winner and email is lousy for expressing feelings (PS: also please stop using Facebook to post your political views–no one cares and no one ever changed their political opinion based on someone’s Facebook post)

2. Don’t take photos or videos of anything you wouldn’t want another party to see (ps: simple advice–keep your clothes on)

3. THINK before you press “send” in any document

4. Assume anything you post on social media accounts could be seen by the “world”–that includes prospective employers. HR folk are well trained to look for insights into who you are and what you do & think.

This advice is doubly important to your children who may not have the wisdom to understand the long-term implications of a youthful foolish act. Therefore, in every instance in every medium don’t assume you can correct a mistake and “delete it” and it will be gone. It is never gone, because the internet never forgets.

More Strumings


  1. Lynn Hoban says:

    A new one to add to the books, in addition to “No Excuses, Just Results” is “Keep your clothes on.” Duly noted and good advice. Thank you.
    Lynn Hoban

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