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Over the past 10 years, I've written and spoken about the need to "think before you submit." What I mean is that when you say something online, it will be stored forever and can come back to bite you years later. With a blog it's relatively quick to post and once the post hits the RSS feed, it's pretty difficult to take the post back.

Allen Stern

November 2, 2008

2 Min Read

Over the past 10 years, I've written and spoken about the need to "think before you submit." What I mean is that when you say something online, it will be stored forever and can come back to bite you years later. With a blog it's relatively quick to post and once the post hits the RSS feed, it's pretty difficult to take the post back.The new crop of microblogging services including Twitter and FriendFeed make sharing instantaneous and nearly impossible to take back. Once you click submit, the people who follow your postings are able to view your comment and even if you delete it, someone will have most certainly already grabbed a screenshot.

This past week 13 Virgin Atlantic employees were fired after posting nasty messages about employees and the company on Facebook. BBC News notes, "Virgin Atlantic started an investigation last Thursday after messages reportedly appeared on Facebook that called its passengers 'chavs'. They also reportedly claimed the planes were full of cockroaches and alleged the airline's jet engines were replaced four times in one year." These 13 employees now have a negative mark that will follow them as they try to gain employment with another airline. It's almost as if they now have an "Internet record." When the interview at SXSW earlier this year between reporter Sarah Lacy and Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg wasn't well received by the audience, Lacy ran to Twitter. She ran off stage and said, "seriously screw all you guys." This type of reactionary behavior will follow her forever and could affect future employment. She, too, now has an "Internet record." There are many other examples of Internet behavior affecting offline employment and status. I've wondered if the new crop of instant posting tools will add a "think about it" button where the comment will be saved but won't be published until the poster completes a one-minute break. This could help reduce the number of potential incidents by forcing posters to breathe first. The key is to always think before submitting.

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