Jesse Bradley, in his recent post about the invisible audience, touched on the trail of his person that was collecting in cyberspace. He wondered what his children would come to know about him through his digital footprint online.
Gottsela touched on similar issues as she explored what should be posted online. Her post generated several comments on issues of privacy and risk. What should we post if it is accessible by anyone? And forever?
So having just read Jesse’s and Gottsela’s posts, I was struck when I heard on an episode of Spark about Viktor Mayer-Schonberger’s book Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age. According to the Spark trailer,
Mayer-Schonberger argues that forgetting is a natural human process, and that digital technology and cheap storage are creating all sorts of problems, from an assault on privacy, to an inability to make decisions.
We need to think carefully when we post online. But Mayer-Schonberger’s work goes beyond the notion of what we should post. He speaks about what we as a society need to consider. We have changed the way we relate to one another. It is not just about the posts that we make, it is also about the digital traces that may be left about us by others. As humans, we have the capacity to forget. In our digital lives, our footprint lasts forever.