The web is written in ink, not in pencil

By | November 22, 2011
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Both EB and I were online back in the early 90’s. In those now seemingly halcyon days, the Web was awash in really good free programs and email was still really cool. Sure, there were viruses and worms running amok on the Web but they weren’t nearly as advanced as today’s malware. As time went by, more and more people discovered that they couldn’t remain on the Web being philanthropic distributors of their own software. Reality set in quickly. It costs money to maintain and host a Web site and giving away stuff is really nice and really generous but if you can’t afford to stay online to give it away it doesn’t make good sense.

It’s human nature to want your share of the big pie. So when some of the good guys (the freeware guys) realized it was either sink or sell their souls – they sold their souls — spyware was born.

The Web has been through many iterations over the past two decades. There is more luring being done now than ever before. What I mean by luring is that advanced Web developers, software developers and other technically savvy people realized that the Internet is literally full of fish swimming about who don’t have a clue how the Internet works or even how their own computer works. And with this realization came the advent or rogue security programs, sophisticated spyware, botnets, and Trojans, and Social Networking.

Social Networking (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) is on its surface a benign way to interact with “friends” and family members. But everyone who signs up with these kinds of sites needs to realize that a vast amount of information is being collected and stored about them – and all that information can be used without their permission. And even if the Social Networks improve their privacy, many people don’t realize that what they post on the Web is indelible – it’s written in ink, not in pencil.

Everyone of us has an online reputation. And its being built byte-by-byte, day-by-day. The more active you are in sharing and uploading photos, blogs, and other posts, the more detailed your online reputation becomes. And we’re all human and sometimes we don’t give much thought before we publish photos or a blog or make a post or post something on a forum or on someone’s wall. We often don’t realize that when we publish a photo, or a post, or a blog, it’s always there – whether we delete it or not — it’s there somewhere on the web and it can be retrieved.

There’s nothing wrong with having a Facebook page or Twitter account or any other Social Networking account but always keep in mind that everything you publish is there forever. Also keep in mind that your privacy isn’t guaranteed no matter what a privacy policy states. Privacy policies can change any time without notice. So unless you look a site’s privacy policy every time you visit (and who does that?), you can never be sure that your privacy is being protected under the same policy that was in force on the day you agreed to it by signing up.

We are not trying to scare you – We are trying to make you aware that you should give some thought before you post something on a Social Networking site. You can’t really delete it later if you regret what you posted. If you post something hateful or inappropriate and immediately delete it, it is still there somewhere. The Web is written in ink and not in pencil. Every day your online reputation is being built from everything you do on the Web. As long as you’re aware of this, and you understand how the Web works, and you make your choices informed choices – that’s great.

Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg once called the people who joined his first social network, “Dumb _____”. He was amazed at how freely people were willing to freely give their personal information. Of course, he’s become a billionaire and would never make that statement now.

The Web has changed so much since EB and I first ventured out on the Web. Each morning we both used to visit Dave Central (now defunct) to see all the new freeware goodies that had been posted overnight. In those days communicated by email and we built our own Web sites from scratch. We’ve both watch the web evolve. There are a great many wonderful things on the Web – and a lot of things on the Web which may not be what they seem to be and which call for a wait-and-see attitude.

Our job is not to scare you but to help you understand how the Web is changing and how best you can protect yourself by using good sense and safe Web practices every day. The more you know, the safer you’ll be. Always keep in mind that the Web is written in ink, not in pencil. You cannot simply erase the things you wish you wouldn’t have written – and you can’t delete pictures you wished you wouldn’t have posted. Everything you do and everything you write is always there on the Web somewhere – and can be retrieved by someone. Just keep that in mind the next time you think you’d like to tell someone what you really think by posting it on the Web. A lot of people are getting hurt, losing jobs, and getting into trouble because they forget the Web is written in ink.

Never post of publish or share anything on the Web without thinking. Whatever you put on the Web is there forever. Be careful what you post on the Web.

One thought on “The web is written in ink, not in pencil

  1. Elfriede

    My mother once told me that once you write it down, you can’t take it back. That’s more true today than ever! So writer, beware!


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