From nowhere we came, into nowhere we go. What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night.

~ Attributed to Crowfoot

Help the Captain get his spaceship!

Mithril Angel Wings

Flickr and Forgetting

It has been strange using the Flickr friend finder. I give it access to my email contacts and within a few minutes I am looking through panoramic mountain vistas from a friend’s camping trip with her ex-husband. Photos of African host families and living quarters and life that a colleague took during peace corps in Africa. And the most unexpected, a series of 11 images posted by a lady I had an informational interview with once – her sister’s teeny baby, his first and only Christmas, grinning shots pre-Leukemia diagnosis, the family after his bone-marrow transplant, the little brother born after he died. It is odd, the window we allow others in this online age.

I then Googled her and found out she spent time as a sex columnist before moving on to work in communications for an organization whose work I admire. Read a summary of a blogging panel she was on where the participants spoke of wishing they blogged anonymously, seeming to regret either spilling their secrets, or feeling constrained to not share more.

It still makes me wonder how comfortable I am linking my name to my words, though clearly this isn’t the same vein of personal as a dating blog. How much should be public, how much would be permanent? There was an intriguing article by Jeffrey Rosen in the New York Times on how The Web Means the End of Forgetting, which I finally finished reading, talking about the perils of permanency:

“We’ve known for years that the Web allows for unprecedented voyeurism, exhibitionism, and inadvertent indiscretion, but we are only beginning to understand the costs of an age in which so much of what we say, and of what others say about us, goes into our permanent — and public — digital files. The fact that the Internet never seems to forget is, at an almost existential level, threatening to our ability to control our identities; to preserve the option of reinventing ourselves and starting anew.”

My rule of thumb lately is to not put anything online that I wouldn’t want seen by my parents or read by my boss. Not because I expect any of them to see it, but because you never know who will, or how long it will stick around.

Then again, after a cursory search, I can’t track down any of those sex column blog posts she wrote =) Maybe forgetting isn’t too elusive after all.

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