Thursday, January 13, 2011

The internet has no undo button. Act accordingly.


Several years ago I attended an NYU class designed to teach professors how to blog. For reasons I can’t explain, they decided to make our class exercise live. As a result, the silly comment I posted comes up every time I google myself. It drives me nuts.

As bad as I feel, Sarah Palin feels even worse as she and her people scramble to try to remove the infamous crosshair map that no doubt contributed to the horrifying shooting in Arizona last weekend. Her efforts to remove the offensive visual have only made it more prominent, in what is a classic case of the Striesand effect -- in which an attempt to remove things from the web only makes the situation worse.(Bernoff, 2011)

There was an amusing story in the New York Times last November about an ethically challenged vendor who discovered that complaints posted about him on the web only served to increase his standing in Google searches. So, he says “Bring ‘em on!” (Segal, 2010)

Cyberspace is a whole new world, and we all need to adjust to its unique challenges. Perhaps from now on, before we post something, we need to ask ourselves “What would mom say?”

Segal, D. (2010, November 26). A Bully Finds a Pulpit on the Web. Retrieved January 13, 2011 from

Bernoff, J. (2011, January 12). Sarah Palin Learns the Web Has No Undo Feature. Retrieved January 13, 2011 from

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