Tuesday, August 09, 2011

My Cyber-Zombie

A couple of days ago I deleted a blog I posted here. Some readers had found it offensive. Belatedly, I regretted ever hitting the “post” button, but, fortunately, blogger's “delete” button erased my post — or so I thought.

In the post, I compared the appearance of a proposed JPMorgan Chase bank branch for our neighborhood to the ominous appearance of a certain concentration camp's entrance.

I added pictures of both to drive home the point and the vague similarity in appearance.

At best, the reference was a cheap shot. At worst it was an odious, outrageous comparison. Somewhere in the middle it was in poor taste, however true.

When I alerted a well-known local blogger to the community’s reaction to Chase's desire to open shop here, he discovered my deleted post and managed to exhume it.

As best I can figure, he dredged it back to life from someone’s trash cache.

In any case, the "dead" post now lurching around cyber space has been read by more viewers than it ever was in life.

Call it a cyber-zombie. Grim, haunting, shocking to some and embarrassing to me, it has taken on a life after death.

There’s a morbidly familiar lesson here. Once loose on the internet, any message is impossible to contain. There’s even an ad on TV these days of a guy who makes the mistake of unintentionally “replying all.” The only solution is for him to dash around snatching computers from the hands of his friends and colleagues.

Fortunately, my error was not that egregious and I did apologize. The apologetic post survives.

I suppose the lesson I’ve learned was worth the penalty of my on-going discomfort.

The lesson? In cyberspace, "deleted" messages can become more alive, famous and dangerous once they have been “killed.”

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Anonymous Chris said...

You are right about that - I am constantly trying to educate my clients about this. Especially those with teen-age kids. You know that someday when they want to get a job or run for public office, the picture of them doing something unimaginably stupid when they were 14 will surface. Or the incredibly obnoxious post they blasted out on Facebook. Once on the 'net, no matter how briefly, it can't ever be 'deleted'.

In respect to your 'lesson' - I am glad to see that you removed that post. While I wasn't really offended, I did find the post over the top and in poor taste. Kudos to you for recognizing that and dealing with it quickly.

10:46 PM  

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