After today’s discussion about the web not allowing us to forget anything, I realized that not only is the web making us lazier but we need to be more proactive and start deleting. With our growing use of the internet and sites like Facebook and Twitter, our online presence has stopped being separate from our real life. Instead, our internet profiles are merely an extension of our real lives. Think about it, when was the last time you went out with your friends and didn’t upload a photo of what you were doing?
Unlike life, when you upload a picture or make a post on Facebook it does not just fade into nonexistence. No, it can resurface at anytime in the same condition it was preserved in. This is not necessarily a good thing because the internet is not similar to keeping memories. Memories are self-selecting. We have good ones and bad ones, some of them are clear and other are hazy. The best part of memories is that we can share them with people and laugh about the fuzzy details. This can not be replicated with the internet. The internet does not forget, it is unforgiving and unbiased in what it chooses to store.
This is why I delete. Not because I need to (because in this generation, nothing ever needs to be deleted) but because there is a satisfaction and weird sense of control of your own life and information that comes with it. Not to sound dramatic but today, it is so easy to lose track of your information and not really know where it is going. The sense of security and privacy that came with a life unconnected is gone. Instead, we have entered into agreements we don’t really understand with companies about how our information is to be handled.
I’m not saying that if people start deleting there will be a sudden change and that information privacy will cease to be an issue. Instead, I think it will help us all depend a little less on the internet to hold our memories and shape our identities. For example, this article in the NYTimes magazine highlights how companies such as Target use our online presence to predict what our online shopping habits will be.
For me, what I gain from maintaining a little anonymity on the web is much greater than the convenience of being connected.