How many times have you composed an e-mail in anger or frustration, sat back to review it, and then hit the Delete button? I expect that the delete feature has saved many a career. In fact, it’s good to be able to delete and forget many haunting, spontaneous actions we may have done. And maybe we’ve gotten a little obsessed in our digital record saving. We probably should be doing a little more deleting when you think about it.
This notion has the support of Viktor Mayer-Schonberger author of Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age. He believes that in our saving frenzy we are not losing enough of our digital data and are guilty of “failing to forget.” He also points to examples of stalled careers and lost jobs through events captured on Facebook and YouTube, among other things, to prove his point.
In the Wall St Journal review of this book, the writer points out that perhaps it isn’t all bad that the digital world has such a long memory. It may just cause us to be more careful about what we post in the public realm.
Certainly, the recent surge of digital-themed books would lead one to believe that perhaps caution is the better solution than deletion. Here are just a few of the titles that we have been checking out recently: Behind the Cloud – about salesforce.com’s development of cloud computing, Viral Loop – how to grow a business from scratch through the use of social media, Twitterville – using Twitter to help a business thrive, and The Laws of Disruption – disruption technologies in the digital age.
Since the digital realm shows no signs of slowing down, or moving with caution, perhaps we as individuals should make more of an effort.