online journalism

When you post online, it’s for forever.

While many people claim that they understand the Internet, they keep proving to me that they really aren’t knowledgable about it.

Most of the people who I see who are misunderstanding the internet are the people who grew up with it. I’m not expecting them to know EVERYTHING there is to know about the great world-wide web but I am kind of shocked that people still haven’t comprehended that no matter what you do when you publish something online it is there FOREVER.

Recently, someone I know posted a picture of their “newest tattoo edition” — two large doves holding a white banner with the word “Promises” written on it. The tattoo covers her entire side. Since her posting of this picture there have been many “likes” on it and just as many comments. What this person didn’t expect, I believe, is to receive not-so-positive comments about her forever choice…especially from family members.

Since receiving these not-so-supportive comments she’s lashed back at their indifference, which made me chuckle a bit but also question some things.

Is it appropriate for someone to say what many consider to be “inappropriate remarks” on the Internet when someone has given them material to comment on?  Is it realistic of her to think that her posting of a picture of her new body ink won’t bring some sort of controversy? 

But the most important question is: If posting online means it’s on there forever, why even bother censoring comments/posts/feedback? 

This girl has deleted a few posts to her picture that she deemed less than flattering and while I would probably do the same, (especially to the comment of: “Now you can never gain weight!”) it made me wonder:

If Internet users have become too censor-friendly to material that is really just a differing opinion rather than defacing then perhaps the Internet will lose its “freedom of expression” appeal?

I won’t always approve of what everyone says to me on the Internet and there have been times I’ve deleted posts on my Facebook for being inappropriate, but I do welcome the opportunity for people to comment on my blogs, Facebook, and Twitter with appropriate criticism or differing opinions. What many fail to realize is that there IS a difference between inappropriate comments and differing views. Many people clump the two together and that is where we risk losing valuable opinions and views because they are quickly deleted or censored.

But if nothing is ever REALLY deleted, why don’t news sources bring them back? If someone deletes a comment that is really not worthy to be deleted based on the rules and values of ethics but is just a different opinion, why not revive it? Perhaps the only way news sources and the Internet can counter this problem is having people “flag” comments and posts which will later be reviewed.

Ultimately, I think it is really important that as the Internet and technology expands, classrooms, parents, and social institutions should teach their kids the importance of “think before you post” and also tolerance for difference. If we give young techies the knowledge in advance then it gives them a better opportunity to engage in better Internet/technological practices as they grow older and in turn that will create a better Internet/technological world in whole.

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One thought on “When you post online, it’s for forever.

  1. This is brilliant. It is so relevant in every day life for so many. I am constantly thinking about censoring things that I put online and often realize that a lot of people don’t put much thought into what exactly they are putting online. But then again, I do see a lot of comments being deleted based on the fact that the comment does not agree with the original post. It’s all about image now, not as much about free speech. I have realized more and more this year how much differing opinions matter. They help us learn and grow as students, human beings, and even as Americans.

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