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August 3, 2010

Observations of Online Endurance

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“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.” —Helen Keller

This one’s going to be short and sweet. To tell the truth, I have the stamina of a sloth. Luckily, I’m as cute as one, too. ;)

You know how all the cool kids have traded privacy for connectivity online? When I thought about the loss of privacy through the framework of Keller’s quote, it made me think maybe the Millenials are on to something. Maybe the danger of losing to identity thieves is worth the advantage of lifelong, worldwide relationships. I’m not changing my habits — just tossing out some food for thought.

It got me thinking of another shift the online world has catalyzed. Permanence: it used to be an illusion. Those who wished their memory could live on were narcissists or dreamers. Today, the Internet ensures that everything lives on and nothing fades. Some examples:

  • Before the Internet, even the greatest kings turned to dust. The fluid memories of society were subject to the ravages of time and the prejudices of those in power.

  • Today’s royalty celebrities and average Joe’s alike can be judged on past lives. Everyone makes mistakes; you’re lucky if your worst were 90s grunge hair and baggy shorts.

Paul Rudd: Bat Mitzvah DJ from Jewish Forward on Vimeo.

  • We just can’t help but consume anymore. It’s become an addiction, a way of life. Because everyone’s a publisher and everyone’s a media consumer (at unprecedented levels), everyone and everything has the potential to live on in the Internet landscape.

  • As a result of the new world order, IRL laws are catching up to shadier online practices, brining law and order to the online space.
  • Taken together, for business this means that permanence applies to your reputation more than ever. Don’t let your life or brand get away from you. There’s nothing less forgiving than Internet archives and search engines.
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