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Former College Journalists Learning That Google Is Their Permanent Record

from the and-they-don't-like-it dept

We've discussed in the past how Google has become a version of the mythical permanent record that our teachers warned us about in school, but for some it's becoming embarrassing. We've all heard the stories of folks who lost jobs or dates due to their social networking profiles, but what about what they wrote in their college newspaper? Apparently, professional journalists are so upset about the quality of their work from when they were in college, that they're asking universities to take down their old writings, especially since it sometimes ranks better in Google than their modern work. Thankfully, most college papers are refusing to take down the content, but it is a reminder (once again) that everything you write can, and will, be used against you sooner or later.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Ima Fish, May 18th, 2009 @ 4:23pm

    I'm so fricken glad that none of my writings from my philosophy undergrad days are online. I'd be so embarrassed.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 18th, 2009 @ 6:30pm

    Ima, you realize the permanent record you're forging RIGHT NOW????? Hope no one discovers your true identity!!!

     

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  3.  
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    Tgeigs, May 18th, 2009 @ 7:11pm

    Uh oh

    I have owned a Britney Spears album.

    Oh know, that might get looked up eons later!!!

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 18th, 2009 @ 8:24pm

    Re:

    I grew up in communist country and we used to have a saying:
    "if you think about it, do not talk about it. If you already talked about it, do not write it down. If you already wrote it, do not signed it. If you have signed, do not be surprised"

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 18th, 2009 @ 8:53pm

    The loss of freedom in America (and anywhere else fortunate enough to currently enjoy it) could occur very quickly, and hurt very badly, because of this very issue... the amount of information available to be used for good, or abused for evil, is increasing all the time.

    Slowly drifting toward a socialist state is a very scary situation, and we find ourselves in it right now if we open our eyes and pay attention.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 18th, 2009 @ 8:55pm

    Re:

    And that is why I remember what the real goal of Socialism is... and am frankly terrified of this becoming reality:

    "We can't expect the American People to jump from Capitalism to Communism,
    but we can assist their elected leaders in giving them small doses of Socialism,
    until they awaken one day to find that they have Communism."
    - Nikita Khrushchev

     

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  7.  
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    Bettawrekonize, May 18th, 2009 @ 9:58pm

    I have to agree, it's very hard to judge anyone based on their early writings. Even on message boards I have made STUPID STUPID mistakes in the past, especially when new. Now I'm probably pretty good at defending my position but that's only after YEARS of experience.

     

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  8.  
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    Bettawrekonize, May 18th, 2009 @ 10:26pm

    Heck, even now I often say stupid things. The fact is that people aren't perfect, we make mistakes, and we shouldn't be hard on someone if they made a mistake (so long as they acknowledge they made a mistake of course).

     

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  9.  
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    mk, May 18th, 2009 @ 11:33pm

    Re: McCarthyism alive & well

    Funny how you should equate a loss of freedom with socialism, when it has always been the paranoid, heavy-handed reaction of conservatives that has done most of the damage. Yes, it's called McCarthyism, look it up.
    "Drifting toward a socialist state???" - Mate, do you even know what socialism is?

     

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  10.  
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    Chuck W, May 19th, 2009 @ 12:31am

    Re: The loss of freedom in America

    You need to worry more about drifting towards a facist state than a socialist one.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
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    JustMe, May 19th, 2009 @ 6:17am

    OK, wait just a second - most of you just earned a big WOOSH

    Why are all of you trotting out the old ISMs like Socialism and Communism?? This isn't Slashdot, read the article. Mike even put a link there for you in the summary.

    This has NOTHING TO DO with the government! This is about people who wrote student papers which have been indexed by search engines. These people are having difficulty finding jobs because employers find these writings and assume they are representative of current work.

    So woosh for #4, #5, #6, #9 and #10.

     

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  12.  
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    Yakko Warner, May 19th, 2009 @ 8:36am

    Re:

    No doubt. Unfortunately, what was once the exclusive bane of public figures like politicians (how many political campaigns include the "shocking revelation" of one candidate or another having done something stupid in college, sometimes decades earlier, used against them as if it was their current position instead of an eye towards what they might have learned since then), is now something everyone gets to experience. :)

     

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  13.  
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    Imnota Fish, May 19th, 2009 @ 9:24am

    Re:

    Did you really mean "socialist" state? Because I don't think it has the same meaning you're implying

     

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  14.  
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    Jason, May 19th, 2009 @ 10:21am

    Perhaps

    ..if they had just asked for all of the content to be date stamped. Then a potential employer, seeing that it's a piece in a college publication could simply check the date and see that it was from 10 years ago.

     

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  15.  
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    Jon L, May 19th, 2009 @ 1:27pm

    roh-roh

    and someday my god-awful early-nineties poetry will come back to haunt me too.... *sigh*

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    jasont, May 20th, 2009 @ 12:37pm

    Your own fault, learn to read ULAs before blaming Google

    From a client side, you don't need to use Google. There are 100s of search engines out there. You can disable cookies and javascript if you want more privacy.

    From a server side, you can use a robots file to tell google to take a hike if you want your stuff private.

    From a student's perspective, you don't need to use their free websites. You don't need to write articles when you're a teen.

    Really, the only people to blame? Google? Govt (who regardless of how much you hate taking off your shoes before getting on a plane has indeed successfully prevented 100% of attacks on us soil since 2001)?

    Please. How about blaming yourself? BE RESPONSIBLE. THAT IS ALL!

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Jack, May 21st, 2009 @ 6:13pm

    Re: Your own fault, learn to read ULAs before blaming Google

    “... You don't need to write articles when you're a teen....”
    You don't even need freedom of speech, if you say the right things anyway.

    As long as you're not doing anything wrong, why does it matter if you're being watched?


    By the way, Jason, please move your dresser a little to the left. It's blocking our view from your telescreen.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Jay, Jul 16th, 2009 @ 2:08pm

    So, don't speak your mind?

    So basically what this is telling me is that, I should be afraid to speak my opinion because it may come back to bite me in the ass later? Ha! While my beliefs may and probably will change over time, I am certainly not going to be afraid to stand up for what I currently believe in and speak my mind!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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