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The internet never forgets

June 26, 2013

Carolyn J. Rose
Oregon writer
Deadly Duo Duh Blog

It doesn’t seem fair.
I struggle to remember names and dates and places.

The Internet never forgets. In fact, not only does its vast memory hold correct information, but it has room for erroneous information as well.

I lose addresses and scraps of paper on which I’ve jotted the titles of books I intend to read, chores I need to complete, and phone calls that should be made.

The Internet keeps everything.

I have to winnow out clothes and books and reorganize closets and shelves to make room for new acquisitions. The Internet just adds another shelf, another closet, another room, another warehouse.

And once something is stored on the Internet, good luck tossing it out or altering it.

I’ve authored books now out of print and no longer available, but apparently the Internet isn’t convinced of that. I have profiles I can’t seem to change on social media sites I no longer belong to. My father died in 2003, but I’ve found a place on the Internet where he’s listed as being in his 90s and living in a house sold years ago.

I find that weird and even painful. But I also find it oddly comforting.

I’ve started to think of the Internet as a scrapbook that’s been in the family for decades. The tape has yellowed and the glue no longer sticks. Pictures and notes have come loose, been stuffed behind others, or crammed into a rubber-banded stack at the back of the book. It’s all there. You just have to know where to look.

As I get older and begin to forget more little things and my mind starts to wander and betray me, I’m cheered by the thought that the Internet has my back. I’ll be okay. As long as I can find my password.

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Discuss this article

Michal Ann McArthur June 28, 2013

This was a delightful post. I enjoyed your suggestion that we can think of the Internet as a scrapbook–that’s a lot more comforting than thinking of it as the world’s CIA files.

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