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The Internet has a Long Memory

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This was originally posted on The Pastry Box for 10 October 2015.

My nephew has a social media account. He probably has a few I haven't found, and a dozen that his parents don't know about. In looking at what I believe is his main account, I have to wonder if he will ever move beyond this moment.

See, the Internet has a long memory.

When he is at his first job, the Internet will still remember his college days. When he is in college, the Internet will still remember his high school days. When he is in high school, the Internet will still remember his junior high school days, his elementary school days, and, thanks to me, his toddler and infant days.

He won't be able to move beyond those moments. They are there online. On Facebook. On Twitter. On Instagram. Out there for the world to see.

He won't be able to move beyond his mistakes, if he decides later that what was a good idea now turns out to be not such a good idea then.

He won't be able to reinvent himself in ways that I could when I was younger and my family moved to a different state, or when I moved away for college, or on to my first job.

There's a release in being able to reinvent yourself, in being able to leave a space and time, and become who you want to be, become who you can be. There's a growth that happens when you learn from your mistakes and leave a part of your history behind.

I worry about my nephew, about his generation and those after him. I don't know that they will ever have that chance to reinvent themselves.

The Internet has a long memory.