The Internet is Public

The internet is a public place. Anything and everything you post online will become available to anyone and everyone who has even the slowest of all internet speeds.

You might be thinking, “Well, it’s a good thing that we have privacy settings. It is also a good thing that I only post things on the internet to my family and friends.” *thumbs up* *ting sound*

Allow me to demonstrate how that is not the case in reality by giving you a few real life examples.

Example number one, one of my friends made his Facebook account private and he limited his Facebook friends to about 200 friends or so. Which if you think about it, in current standards, that is only a handful of friends. Not even a handful, it’s just a pinch.

The reason why he wanted to make his Facebook so private is because he wanted to limit his Facebook postings to just family and friends. Nobody else. It’s private. He even told people that all his postings are private, so that they don’t share them around.

But, as you might have guessed, things did not go as planned. Apparently some people screencaptured his Facebook postings and share them with the rest of the world on Whatsapp. You and I both know how fast things spread around Whatsapp, right?

It’s not his fault. He didn’t post anything inappropriate or anything. He is just uncomfortable sharing those things with the world.

But the thing about the internet is that, even with the most tight of all privacy settings, there is still a probability that things could leak out and spread all around.

My friend was upset and I think he ended up deleting his personal Facebook account altogether, which I think is a brilliant decision if you want privacy. Because privacy on the internet is just a facade.

Another example, one fine day I was strolling along my Facebook timeline. Suddenly I came across a post shared to me by a friend of mine. The Facebook post was from a person who is not a public figure, whom I have never met in my life, whom I have no relations with, and whom I have not even seen on the “People You May Know” sidebar.

I can safely say that this person is way outside of my circle of friendship. But, somehow, the thing that she posted landed on my timeline and reached me. I’m sure that she has no idea who I am and that she has no idea that I was reading her Facebook post.

Another example, a 6th grade teacher (or Standard Six, if you’re in Malaysia) from USA wanted to teach her students not to post inappropriate things on social media because those things could spread everywhere.

To make her point, she posted this picture of a letter she wrote wanting people to share it and tell her where they’re coming from so that she could prove to her students how far things can spread online. That picture arrived on my Facebook timeline. Me, a guy from Malaysia.

I don’t know her, she doesn’t know me. What she posted traveled further than she expected.

Another thing about the internet is that the things that you post online, most likely will stay there forever. The internet has this thing called a “cache”. The internet’s cache stores data, your data, on the internet and it will still be there even after you’ve deleted it.

For example, I’ve deleted a few of my pictures from the internet. Not because there’s anything inappropriate, just because I don’t want it to be on the internet anymore. But I can still find those pictures on Google Images.

The internet is the opposite of Elsa. It will not let it go.

So you have to really think about what you post online because it will become your permanent footsteps on the internet soil.

Family and friends can see what you posts. Strangers can see them. Children can see them. Your children or even your grandchildren can see them, even after you have passed away.

That is a scary thought, but it is also a wonderful thought if you think about it. If you made it a point to always post about something positive and beneficial for yourself and for others, it will be your legacy. You will be leave a sweet memory for people to remember you by.

But it’s a matter of personal choice. You choose what to post online.

You choose how you want people to remember you.