I just read (well, skimmed some of it since it’s so long) this article in the New York Times titled “The Web Means the End of Forgetting” as a result of this Tweet by Christine Amorose.

One quote fairly early in the article that’s somewhat scary is this:

It’s often said that we live in a permissive era, one with infinite second chances. But the truth is that for a great many people, the permanent memory bank of the Web increasingly means there are no second chances — no opportunities to escape a scarlet letter in your digital past. Now the worst thing you’ve done is often the first thing everyone knows about you.

I live a very public life; most of what I do is “out there” and I’m fine with that. Luckily, the worst thing I’ve ever done — which I’m not going to get into — is not the first thing people knows about me. But part of that being the case is because it happened when I was young before the rise of Facebook and a web where everything resides in a permanent state for eternity. But if I did something really bad again, there is a good likelihood it would somehow end up online and very public — likely somewhere in my Facebook status feed as wall posts from friends or acquaintances. It it could spread to my entire network within hours. Maybe the worst thing you’ve done is the first thing people learn about you in future. That sucks, but we all have to be willing to accept the consequences of our mistakes.

I guess the lesson is that we should all never do anything bad again. Of course, I strive to only do good in this world — but mistakes can happen to the best of us. One last thing I will say on this topic — the fact of the matter is that part of what keeps me inline on a day to day basis IS the fact that everything I do (for the most part) is public. I’d be more likely to go off the deep end and do something crazy, horrible, or stupid if everything wasn’t public; I guess that’s both a good thing and a bad thing depending on how you look at it.