There is No Delete Button on the Web

Now this has got me worried – what are all the things I have said that are floating around.

The Unforeseen Consequences of the Social Web – ReadWriteWeb

Interconnected on the Web

While it’s exciting to live in an ever connected and always on world, the flip side that we have to accept is that we also live in a world where information is becoming increasingly interlinked. Today it is relatively simple to follow footprints on the Web if we want to track both people and brands.

For instance, take a look at my public profile on Twitter and you’ll notice I can also be found on other sites: BlogWell, ReadWriteWeb and The Drill Down. Visit BlogWell and you’ll notice I can be found at WebMama and TechTalkRadio. Visit The Drill Down and you’ll see my contact information for Digg. While I occasionally use different user names on sites, I publicly declare my affiliations and unless you know me really well, or have reason to follow me across the Web, you may not realize the relationships I have or where I can be found online by visiting any one site.

While the information about me on the Web is not terribly exciting, I do leave a little bit of information on every site I visit. And therein lies the rub. Say something in passing on a social site and it may come back to haunt you.
There is No Delete Button on the Web

It is becoming increasingly difficult to remove content from the web. The Internet Archive and its Way Back Machine gives you a historical snapshot of a site within seconds. Google gives you cached pages displaying pages that may have been deleted for any number of reasons. Photo sharing sites that store images online combined with services like Twitpic that let you quickly upload pictures to social sites – all of these great social Web resources also leave your historical Web footprints open to dissection in the future.

And although the information you put out on the Web may seem insignificant today, you have to ask the question of whether it will be insignificant tomorrow, or in five years when you need to apply for college or seek new employment. Additionally, you have to ask yourself whether you’re just leaving more junk for the next generation to clean up.


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