The internet is not your private diary, kay?

Tooootally meant to post earlier than this but… obviously that didn’t happen. I’m here now, though! So let’s see if i can get my thoughts together enough for an actual post.

Black Notebook With Pencil (c) Typofi

With a few things I’ve read online recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about posting and the internet and people. Not necessarily in that order. This is partially because of two articles, one, of course, from Cracked.com.

The Cracked article is actually about why you shouldn’t post embarrassing pictures of your friends online, but in my experience people don’t need their friends’ help to embarrass themselves. A lot of people do it on their own and post things in public I wouldn’t even share with my closest friends. All I can ask myself is, WHY?!

I am naturally shy, so maybe that’s one of the reasons over-sharing on the internet has never appealed to me, but I seriously question some people’s sobriety when I read or see things online. Yes, I know being an idiot or embarrassing yourself can get your internet fame, but is it really worth it? Even after you take something down, once it’s posted, it’s out there. Maybe someone saved it to their computer. Maybe Google archived it. You never know when that picture or video or story you thought was long gone suddenly comes back to bite you. And that’s a threat that won’t disappear until something like Revolution happens.

Celebrities and other public figures have to be even more careful than the general public. Just look what happened when poor Prince Harry let his guard–and his pants–down for a while. Even though it may not feel like it sometimes (like when you’ve been locked in your office drafting for six months), authors are public figures. We gather fans and people listen to what we have to say. This means you have to think about what you post online and make sure most people are going to read it the way you meant it to he heard. The internet isn’t always the best place for sarcasm, especially if you can’t remember some jokes don’t translate well without inflection. Sometimes, though, it’s not a joke. Sometimes authors can inadvertently (I’m giving the benefit of the doubt here) start a war just by talking.

A friend of mine sent me a link to a post by a blogger and book reviewer named Corey Ann. This post (which is kinda long) details an entire series of events that blew my mind. What happened here is the exact thing I’m talking about above, something everyone in the public eye has to watch out for. Basically, Corey Ann got caught in a flame war between various factions surrounding author Emily Giffin. Whether or not she meant them to be, Emily made some comments that, ON THE INTERNET (please note the emphasis), came off in a very negative way. Maybe she was joking. Maybe she didn’t think about how the lack of tone would translate. Maybe she meant exactly what she said. I don’t know. All I know is that inadvertently or on purpose she ended up siccing her fans on Corey Ann and another reviewer. Things got so out of control Corey Ann actually received threatening PHONE CALLS. Which means people tracked her down in person to yell at her. That is crossing the line so far you’re not even in the same county as the line anymore.

The point is, things like this can happen. In an age where all it takes is a couple of tweets or status updates to start a riot, you have to be EXTRA SUPER DUPER CAREFUL about everything you post online. The internet is a tool. Use it like one. And also, no matter how private your privacy settings, don’t count on privacy. The next generation of hackers is always smarter than the last and you never know when something meant for your eyes only ends up being public fodder. Basically, just try to remember the internet is not your diary, kay? That’s what bookstores sell journals for.

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