Would you rather have the ability to explore the future or dig deeper into the past? I don’t know about you, but given a choice, I would love to go back in time. I want to learn the mysteries of our origin, the evolution of living beings, the first human being, the dinosaurs, how pyramids got built, secrets of Atlantis, and the list goes on.
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Speaking of our ancestors, archaeologists have studied a vast number of prehistoric beings using the fossils left behind. These fossils allow us to uncover the past and understand in-dept about these creatures. They discover exciting facts such as how long ago did they roam the Earth, what they looked like, how they lived, what they ate, and how they died. The paleontologists’ study requires patience and careful brushing off thousands of centuries of layers to get to the facts. Some studies have taken decades of relentless pursuit to understand our past better.
At some point, we too will become history. And when that happens, studying our remains won’t be as painful and time-consuming as of our ancestors. A few keystrokes on the all-knowing internet will bring back our past right into the new present.
The World Wide Web works similar to studying the fossils with one major exception. The study does not take decades or years or months, not even days, and you don’t need any experienced paleontologists for uncovering the past. Internet’s vast, interconnected database has a memory that will long outlive us. Even web sites that are pulled down or deleted live on forever on a website called Wayback Machine, which archives 55 billion web pages dating back to 1996.
Now the question is what relics are we leaving behind about us?
It has been said that information is like a toddler: It goes everywhere, gets into everything, and you can’t always control it. Before the information revolution, facts or fiction moved at the same slow pace, allowing the stories to be corrected and adjusted before it reached a wider population. Information about not too distant past that we read or watched probably happened around your time and the details may often surprise you today, years later of the incident. That’s because information and news took longer to disseminate in the not too distant past.
That’s no longer the case. Information is on steroids and moves faster than we can keep up.
Everything is stored. Search, photos, friends, foes, shopping, political affiliations or preferences, likes and dislikes, family, pets, money, assets, debts – everything. You name it, and it is there somewhere. It shouldn’t surprise you if some of the secrets that you shared with nobody but with the friendly Internet, will be available for those who know how to look.
What does this mean to us? Living in a hyper-connected world has many merits, but it’s without pitfalls if you are not too careful. Your reputation or ratings in this new world will matter a lot more than ever before. And hence, it is imperative to guard your reputation or your brand (link to the Brand blog). Videos of your brawl at a bar on Facebook won’t get you too far in your job search, for instance. Our impression on the Internet is similar to plastic that cannot be recycled. It will stay for a very long time. We will never become less connected. We will never become less transparent.
My advice to us, especially the newest generation, is to make sure you are archiving your best history because they will come back. Every YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, social apps messages – images – postings – are no longer the past – they are here.
Your past is present. Plan for a better past for a better future.
What information genie are you worried about escaping from the Internet lamp?
Share your thoughts.
To your success!