You DO realize the Internet is TV on stereoids, right?

A Washington Post story had a link to this discussion by someone who is worried about shooting naked pictures of their baby.

This makes me sad on a number of levels — we’ve got pics of our kids in the bathtub, my parents have shots of me on the toidy, and the bare skin rug shot is a famous one of just about everyone.

I guess what amazes me is people who seem offended that they can’t safely put these sort of shots up on the Internet. My question: Why should you be able to do that safely?

No, seriously, why? It’s like walking down the street naked and screaming at people to quit looking. The Internet is TV on steroids, the modern equivalent of broadcasting your entire life. And then you tell people not to look?

The problem is that digital cameras and automatic computer downloading make sharing so darn easy — two clicks and it’s on facebook. And it does seem natural, a fun way to share.

And it is. I do it.

But, as I said, it’s not the same as putting the picture into an album you pull out to show visiting relatives. Computer files can be stolen, or go astray. E-mail can be intercepted and hacked. Facebook is a public forum, as are all those other photo sharing sites that let you post albums and even archive your family pictures. Privacy controls? What a joke.

And as the link makes clear, when you put pictures in those things you are even letting the public snoops and guardians of public morals see what you’ve been taking pictures of and question your reasons for doing so: Shot the kid sitting on his potty chair. What’s up with that? Better call the cops, just to be safe.

The last graph of the story is sad — a lady looks at a picture on her computer of her kid wearing cowboy boots and a smile, thinks it’s the cutest thing ever, and then nukes it.

Why not print it out, put the picture in an album, and THEN nuke the file? It’s your picture, keep it and enjoy it.  You should do that with ALL your pictures, anyway, because digital storage will not last.

That shot of me on the potty chair is 60 years old, now, still as crisp as the day mom got it back from the photo lab. And, no, I will not be posting it anywhere.

You should do the same. If it is nobody else’s business, then don’t put it on the Internet.

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4 Responses to You DO realize the Internet is TV on stereoids, right?

  1. John Norvell says:

    Digital Storage will not last? I’d really love to get an explanation on that one. It lasts indefinitely with no degration whatsoever, unlike physical copies. So while obviously you will often want to make physical copies of pictures to share offline, keep the digital backup. It’s forever.

  2. Charles Trentelman says:

    Forever? sadly, no it’s not.

    Recordable CDs and DVDs have a shelf life of anywhere from two years to 10, Recordable media of other varieties (flash drives) run into chemical decomposition problems. Hard drives last as long as the hard drive lasts, maybe 5 years if you are fortunate, but eventually the bearing holding the spinning disc seizes up.

    Even files on perfectly solid working storage media can be corrupted by electrostatic charge, a stray electron, or whatever. If this has never happened to you, you are fortunate.

    Storage on the cloud — the great mass of servers in the sky or Google or whatever — may give you some permanence, but only as long as software and hardware are around to give you access and only as long as those servers stay alive and an Internet systems exists to let you access them.

    You should check with some museum curators. The ones I talk to — my sister is a senior scientist at the Getty Conservation Institute so I have some access — are very worried that history will look back to the late 20th and early 21st century and find relatively few records of what went on — pictures, diaries, local histories — because they were all kept on your so-called forever digital media and the media didn’t last, or equipment to access the media didn’t last.

  3. Bob Becker says:

    Not to mention constantly changing recording systems. How many people could pull data today at home off floppy disks — the old ones that really were floppy? I lost that ability three home computers ago. We have one VHS machine left that can still access VHS tapes [but we rarely do]. Who knows what kind of hardware will be the standard in use ten years from now. Or twenty. Some research libraries treasured one or two still working dictaphone machines, since it’s the only way the have to access material stored many years ago on dictabelts. And so on and so on.

    Want to keep a copy and be sure? Print it.

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