I have been following a discussion on Amazon’s parenting forum for the past few days. (WARNING: this series of posts contains adult material. Read at your own risk.) As I write, there are currently 164 posts to this very heated dialog about “Breastfeeding in Public.” And in consideration of my husband’s very well written post on “Why Technology Matters to Parents” I am reminded that what we write, even in the midst of a heated debate about a topic we may be incredibly passionate about, becomes a PERMANENT part of our persona when posted anywhere on the web. That is the reality of technology today.
This also prompts me to think about how we label ourselves as individuals by the words we choose, the messages we send, the way we dress, the friends we choose, the activities we partake in (and choose to avoid). It used to be, that we could mess up once in a while and trust in the fact that our errors would (hopefully) fade away with time and patience. But these days, when our words, thoughts, photographs, opinions, and exaggerations go into print; when they become eternal by the simple click of the “post” or “publish” button…those words become a permanent marker of who we are.
So, maybe we need to ask ourselves a little more frequently: What am I saying about myself? How am I presenting myself to the rest of the world, or to the one person who might happen to Google my name, or come across it serendipitously while searching for something or someone else entirely?
Just as it was in Thoreau’s and Emerson’s day, and exponentially more so now: the words we place in print have the potential of sticking around forever. Do they add to, or detract from who we really are, and how we want others to know us?