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  • Felice Cohen

Emails and Texts and Twitter, oh my!

The personal emails of Sarah Palin are being released today without her consent. Though I’m not a Palin fan, can you imagine how you would feel if your emails went public? This week a teenager in Germany posted a Sweet Sixteen invite on Facebook to what she thought was just her friends, but somehow went to everyone, and over a thousand people showed up at her house. Then there’s the picture of Anthony Weiner’s wiener that went public even though he only intended it to be seen by one woman.

These are just a few examples of the loss of control we are having on our own privacy, and often, the only ones to blame are ourselves. There is still this sense of security in thinking that the words and pictures we post and share are only going to be seen within our circle. But stop for a moment and think about the last ten emails or texts you sent and how you would feel if any of them were seen by the world. Scary.

I myself am not immune from Internet mishaps. Though nowhere as high on the scale as recent news stories, it was enough to keep me weary of Facebook. The first time I ever went on I sent what I thought was a message to one friend that was actually posted on my wall. It wasn’t bad or lewd or anything, but it was personal enough to keep me from signing back on for months. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s done that.

This week I received an invitation from a colleague on LinkedIn. After hitting Accept, it prompted me for my personal info. Since I was doing about six other things, I wasn’t focusing entirely on the LinkedIn site, just hitting okay through several prompts. I do remember thinking “I don’t want to send invites to my entire address book” but somehow it wasn’t enough to get me to stop multitasking. Only when my inbox started to blow up with almost two hundred “Congratulations! Joe Schmo accepts your invitation to LinkedIn” emails did I start to pay attention. It’s not that I didn’t want to be connected to them (okay, maybe a few of them), but for a moment I had a panicky feeling that I revealed something I shouldn’t have.  I’m chalking it up as a little warning for the future.

Do you have an Internet mishap story you’d like to share?

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