Opinion: Escaping from our digital histories


WE JUST graduated from college. We’ve got thousands of pictures on Instagram, conversations on Gchat and status updates on Facebook to show for it — a digital record of that long week, seemingly each fragment of thought and every step of the day we graduated.

And we, like many people, often forget that so many less important moments of our lives are catalogued in the same way. Recently, Facebook launched a sophisticated tool called Graph Search, which helps reveal information from within your social network. Such tools make it dramatically easier to unearth data about the lives of everyone we know — and people we don’t. They also underscore the urgent need to define the norms that govern how this information will be used.

Ours is the first generation to have grown up with the Internet. The first generation that got suspended from school because of a photo of underage drinking posted online. The first generation that could talk in chat rooms to anyone, anywhere, without our parents knowing. The first generation that has been “tracked” and “followed” and “shared” since childhood.

[To read the full article, click here.]
[See also Washington Post reposting.]