Blogs Make You Immortal or Infamous

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Writing is the surest way to become immortal. At least it was, until Writing married Google and their children grew up blogging. Immortality is now open to the public, but diluted in such a way that would-be giants have little to chew. All can and will live on, but will shrink to fit the room – and talk about each other incessantly with voices much bigger and lasting than themselves.

Let me explain. No, there is no time. Let me sum up.

Anything you say in the blogosphere can and will be used against you in a court of law, in a job interview, at her parents’ house, in Business Week, and by the search engines as they index what you say (and what others say about you) forever and ever. Amen.

Fray, a website where people can tell their stories, still holds developer Josh Santangelo’s tale of a bad acid trip – from five years ago. That tale first reached the masses on Jason Kottke’s weblog from an entry entitled, “Josh Santangelo on drugs and permanence of the web.”

“Four hits of liquid” and five years later, as Business Week now points out, a Google search on Josh’s name brings up Kottke’s post on page 1, complete with the phrase, “Josh Santangelo on drugs.”

Even if Santangelo acknowledged in 2001 that he may not have posted that story had he thought about his career before publishing it on the Web, he wasn’t all that concerned about it.

But blogorrhea has ensnared many an employee blogger. Google, Microsoft, and Delta Airlines have all canned workers for blog comments, personal blogs or not. In the 21st century, it’s more than protecting your current job, it’s about protecting your future job and your reputation.

Just imagine landing an interview, nailing it, and being confident you’ll be hired only to learn you were “Googled” and your potential boss found a very embarrassing story about you from college – or worse, an off-color blog post from last week!

At BlogSafety.com, Jonathan Ezor warns teens that what ends up on the net can come back to haunt them:

“Who’s reading your blog? The better question might be, who isn’t reading it? The wonderful and scary thing about the Internet is that it reaches every corner of the world, and potentially every person too.

“That includes parents, teachers, principals, marketers, law enforcement officials, brothers and sisters, potential boyfriends and girlfriends, former boyfriends and girlfriends, soon-to-be-ex-boyfriends and girlfriends you get the idea. If college admissions officers and prospective employers aren’t already looking for blog entries by candidates, they will be soon.”

The moral of the story is, though you may not be truly immortal, with the advent of the Internet, your words most certainly are. You don’t want entire, very findable pages dedicated to some stupid thing or other you’ve said.

Don’t be a Pat Robertson, the poor deranged man, who’s known for saying things like:

“NOW is saying that in order to be a woman, you’ve got to be a lesbian.”–Pat Robertson, “The 700 Club,” 12/3/97

Heh. That one’s my favorite.

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