First, there’s the claim that “everything on the Internet lasts forever,” usually made in reference to warnings about the dangers of teen “sexting,” or work emails that are discoverable in lawsuits.
I can personally attest that the “Internet is forever” claim is less true than you would think: once when I was leaving a job and was told I could have a copy of my archive of 75,000 emails over eight years, the task was somehow botched, and the day-to-day record I’d assumed I’d have forever—the trail of messages marking my wedding planning, mother’s descent into Alzheimer’s, and the birth of my first child—was lost forever.
Another trope that has grown more recently—as folks’ awareness about algorithms has grown—is to remark on the uncanny way that digital ads so perfectly match our demographics and interests.
Sometimes, though, that “perfect matching” can yield some pretty unexpected—and in my case, thought-provoking results: A few weeks ago, an ad popped up on my Facebook page inviting me to like a website called BlackSouthernBelle.com. [Read more…]