We are just starting to come to grips with the permanence of the Internet. For years and years we posted things to the web without really thinking. We are just now beginning to realize that you can’t just throw away websites like old journals and incriminating photographs. As a culture, we are contending with how to deal with the permanent relics of our past that are digitally preserved for eternity. Incriminating college photos are undermining political careers and costing businessmen their jobs. Old incendiary blog posts are coming back to bite the ass of the more thoughtful current versions of former firebrands. Careers are dropping like flies left and right as a result of secrets excavated from the dark corners of the Web.
The recent rash of digital witch hunts got us thinking about all the ways that your actions on the Internet can stick with you. Of course, there are the embarrassing things that we post online everyday without thinking. There are also the e-blasts we sign up for that we can’t get rid of no matter how often we try to quit them by clicking “unsubscribe.” There are even some things that stick with us even though we had nothing to do with getting them on the Internet in the first place. In the real world, it is possible to get a fresh start. You move to a new place, you meet new people, and the complications of your old life are left behind (unless there is a warrant out for our arrest), but online, you are weighed down by new content every day. New blog posts, photos, and profiles add clutter to your digital persona. We don’t yet know the extent to which your Internet old business can affect your life, but we do know there are a number of things you can do online that you can’t turn back the clock on, no matter how hard you try. Here are 25 Things You’ve Done Online That Will Haunt You Forever.