Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Gone Without A Trace No Longer

So, I'm thinking about the black smudges of cyber ink that I'm creating this morning. I'm watching the letters form on the computer screen as they fly out of my noggin, through my fingers, to the key board and onto the screen.

Once I check them, they will be sent via a mouse click to the blog when I hit the, 'publish post' button. A mere matter of seconds later, you will be able to review the latest addition to Your Mother Knows. I will take a sip of coffee and be satisfied that I was able to come up with another entry. How does she do it? Actually, she's not sure. And, some mornings when she sits down at the keys, she thinks, "Writing is lonely work!"

I'm not sure why that surprises me as much as it does. It's an aspect that I didn't consider...the lonely part, I mean. I suppose, previously, I wrote articles, memos, reports and never really worried about them after I was done. It was getting it finished by deadline that was the victory. I quickly moved off to the next item clamoring for attention. Unless I got a letter from a reader, which was always very gratifying, I didn't consider what I had completed because there was still so much that needed to be done.

However, this blog is completely different for me. I totally invest in it. Most likely because it is my brain child. It's me, sent via computer, to you. It's very personal. And, I find that many days it feels as if I am having a conversation and thinking/hoping that people are there and hearing me. But, without feedback I don't know for certain. Without reader comments, I can't know if it's really worth the cyberspace it takes up. Having shared that, I hope my readers understand their worth and have a sense of importance to the success of this endeavor.

So, writing daily can be lonely. Ultimately, a writer has to rest in the belief that what they write is worthy and will reach the correct ears. It's all we can do. The urge to create and share is too great and can't be ignored.

But, here's another thing to think about. And, I'm saying this especially to my 'younger' readers who use the computer, their cellies, and other gizmos to stay completely, totally, 24/7 connected to their friends and world. These items are part of the main-frame of your life; things you take for granted. But, they are deceptive and you need to be more careful with this technology and ability. You need to understand what's really at stake here. You need to rethink this techno-world. You need to stay more vigilant than you are at present.

Case in point: Just yesterday, two of my Facebook friends, not connected to each other, posted the same article as a thread. It was about the fact that, even if you take your page down...close it down and delete it, the content is still accessible by Facebook. Still accessible, even though it's your intention that it be locked up. That's a potential nightmare and Facebook is now working to sort it out based on tons of negative comments they received about their new policy.

Same with this blog. If I decide to quit today, and delete my account...I'd move on to another hobby and forget about it because I did my part and deleted it. But, even so, the residue of the blog remains. What happens to the cyber residue of our personal lives that remains?

We've already had cases of employers going immediately to Facebook, MySpace, etc, to view a potential employee's page. To see what sort of craziness might be there. To be a cyber Peeping Tom in order to determine what sort of person they may be considering. Or, using it to make the decision to exclude the person from the list of qualified candidates. And, there's nothing to stop them because it's public information.

I'm not sure about you, but I can say with a certainty, that at times there are things on my page that I wouldn't want to be used as a barometer of my professional abilities. Facebook is simply a diversion and a fun way to pass time with those I know. Reality check- you can't be that naive! None of us can. If you put it up, it's there to be seen. By anyone. For any reason. What does your Facebook page say about you?

Walking through the airport the other day we passed a guy having a very animated conversation, appearing to be talking to himself. Very disturbing. When I was a kid, Dad was adamant that I cross the street away from anyone talking out-loud to themselves. Now, thanks to Bluetooth technology, many of us walk about looking like inmates from the asylum as we conduct our business in front of anyone and everyone!

This guy was going on and on about how, "he's a friggin' idiot and I can't stand that I have to deal with him..." That was as much as I was barraged with as we passed each other. But, it was enough to remind me, "Wow, buddy, do you think you're in a cone of silence so that you can say those things and not be overheard by the entire world?!"

Cell phones are not private. Everyone around you hears your business. Most of us are uncomfortable being put into the position of being eaves-droppers. But, we don't have a choice. People talk in front of you saying anything and everything. It's all TMI!!!!! Way too much information!

I'm asking you to stop using these wonderful contraptions without consideration. You must be vigilant and more aware of their power. Be more concerned about the info you share in the open. Think about the places people can now look to find you and form their opinions of 'you.' You must be the keeper of your life in this cyber world of ours. It's not gone when you are done with it. Parts remain.

You can burn a diary. You can rip a letter into a million tiny pieces. You can destroy a phone number. Crack a CD. Shred a document. Any hard copy can be gone without a trace.

But info shared on air-waves, and most especially in public, stays public. The computer parts of you remain. Somewhere. Somehow. For someone to use or see. Even after you've deleted it or closed it. If what you say is something that will embarrass you at some point down the line, do not use open technology to share it. Do not put it on your computer pages. Do not! Because if it can come back to haunt you, it may just do that.

Information, even after the delete key is struck, is gone without a trace no longer. So stay aware. Be grateful for technology and have fun with it. But always remember that mass communication tools work for you and just as quickly against you. Proceed with caution.

Namaste' Till Next Time,


Toni said...

Holly -- I'm going to refer you to my best friend, Veronica, who mostly set up my blog, for the counter thingie! Tell her I sent ya:

And thanks for adding me to your blog list, wow!

markpgoogle said...

What's nice about your blog--besides the fact that it's everlasting and some of the postings may haunt you until the day you die; and then your family and friends get to live with the aftermath forevermore--is that it's insightful and often funny: it's you. Thanks for sharing. And a belated Happy Valentine's Day!

markpgoogle said...

Who the hell is markpgoogle?

What a crazy way we must communicate these days!

This is Mark McElreath, and I love your blog. Take this:


Anonymous said...

I really wish people would watch what they say on Facebook. I like how you touched on employer peeping toms, being as how at one point I was one. At a former employer, I was charged with recruiting and interviewing potential college interns. As they were mostly Towson students I could view their pages bc they were in my network. One guy, after a great interview posted on his page that he had "gone on an interview with a lame company" and that he'd probably get and accept the job anyway because it paid pretty well. Needless to say, he did not get the job... However I'm sure I am just as bad. I know I deleted photos I had shortly after I friended my own mother and brother on Facebook. My biggest gripe with Facebook's new policy is that they are trying to grandfather it in. The TOS now and the TOS I agreed to when I signed up are not the same and although I'm sure in certain legalese it's just seems wrong of Facebook to do so. Alrighty I'm stepping off my soapbox now and return you to your regularly scheduled programming :)

~Stef Hare

MelissaS said...

I couldn't agree more!

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