If you let the cat out of the bag, it kinda is out of the bag

by Volker Weber

I thought this was obvious, but it needs repeating:

Do not post anything on the Internet which you don't consider public knowledge.

If you take pictures of your friends when they are drunk and put them on Flickr, they are out there. Forever. You may take them down, but somebody may have a copy. If you put stuff on Twitter, it's out there. Somebody will read it, somebody will talk about it, somebody may find it interesting and take it further. If you put it in your online profile, it's out there.

We have powerful communication tools now. Your brain is the filter. If you talk about it, if you write about it, if you take photos of it, if you post it on the Internet, it's out there.

And it's not coming back.


What, no link?

Andrew Pollack, 2007-12-04

You are so right. I'm currently working on a Serious Game Idea (at Michigan State University) that teaches internet literacy and using our brains as "filters" was one of the broad ideas that I was focusing on. Nothing ever disappears on the internet and we all should be making sure we post responsibly. Younger internet users need to know that mindless and irresponsible posting (in blogs, photo services etc.) all have consequences, be it good or bad.

Awesome blog by the way. I've been a fan since I found it on the e-series.org
blog roll !

Gaston Rampersad, 2007-12-04


A bit off-topic, but one of the subtitles of vowe.net is:

"Ceci n'est pas un blog"


"This is not a blog"

I'm not sure why I'm bothering to mention it. But just so you know, for future reference, FYI, etc...

Rob McDonagh, 2007-12-04

Yeah, but then this isn't a pipe either....

Armin Grewe, 2007-12-04

I am reading this thing for at least two years now and still haven't got the difference to a blog. Maybe I am a slow learner and someone can enlighten me?

It's not the partial feeds, because some ad-based blogs also do that.

Mariano Kamp, 2007-12-04

Armin - *brsscccht* you made my day!
BTT: It's one aspect causing the fear some people have of the Internet. And there's onyl one answer: it's not the Internet's (or Google's) fault - it's you and your brainfilter that failed. Better luck next time.

Martin Hiegl, 2007-12-04

Give us just a little bit of context Volker ;-)

Stuart McIntyre, 2007-12-04

I've always thought that paranoia on the internet is something to cultivate...

Alex Boschmans, 2007-12-04

Stuart, no further context necessary. This is a universal statement. You really don't need to know why I posted it.

Volker Weber, 2007-12-04

Well, even if it's universal, it is certainly true for Mark Zuckerberg.

John Keys, 2007-12-04

Mariano, I don't understand that statement, either. I also don't get the "Volker is a good mother" comment that people throw out periodically. I'm not sure why everything has to be cloaked in obtuse language and layered in subtlety, but that's the way it is on this site. :-)

Charles Robinson, 2007-12-04

Charles, this is one important aspects in what makes a community: expressions that only have a meaning to members of the community (e.g. insider jokes)... :-)

Ragnar Schierholz, 2007-12-04

Charles, you may learn something here. ;-)

Volker Weber, 2007-12-04

Ok, got it.

You can't smoke Volker's blog.

Given his total lack of tolerance and compassion for smokers that makes sense to me.


Mariano Kamp, 2007-12-04

The Truth

Ed Brill, 2007-12-04

A rather extraordinary news item of very high profile in the UK at the moment points up this issue - apparently someone found the (allegedly) incriminating photograph of the couple in Panama, by a simple Google search, shedding new light on a very odd 'disappearance' story.

Nick Daisley, 2007-12-06

... in fact, further to my previous, it proved to be ridiculously easy - the Google search shows the vital image as the first on its list - although it has been removed from the site's own page, at time of writing it still sits in the good ol' google cache.

I'm getting worried now - what secrets lurk on Google about me?? I shall go and look.

Nick Daisley, 2007-12-06

Old vowe.net archive pages

I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.


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