On the first page of Chapter 9 of Barlow’s book, “Alternative Journalism,” he says that “Most other alternative publications lasted only a few issues, the articles in them quickly disappearing completely… Conversely, on the Internet, nothing disappears” (104). This quote hit me in quite a few ways.
First, this quote hit me in a personal context. As someone who grew up with the Internet, I was always warned that whatever I put on the Internet would stay there forever. We had internet safety classes in intermediate school that instructed us on appropriate and inappropriate content to post online. As a college student that will one day need to find a job, and especially as a future teacher, we are warned about what kinds of things potential employers are able to see on our Facebook or Instagram profiles. These warnings are daunting and are pretty much constantly on my mind whenever I post a picture on Instagram or get tagged in one on Facebook. This part of Barlow’s book just reminded me that it wasn’t always like this; that things weren’t as permanent or accessible as they are now.
I then thought about this in the context of the incredible amount of information that is available to us online. We literally have all of the information we could ever want at the tips of our fingertips. We do have archives of old newspapers and magazines and stuff, but whatever is put on the Internet is really an archive of its own.
With all that being said, there is so much information out there that we have to be careful about what we share. Because there are articles and posts that can be years old, it can be easy to spread information that might be years old, inaccurate, and not relevant anymore. For example, someone had shared this article on Facebook at in the middle of January of this year.
I saw the headline and was like “YEAH!! Someone is finally doing something about Flint!!” I wanted to share the article, so of course I read it. I then wondered why I didn’t see anything else about it on Twitter. And then I looked a little closer.
It had been published almost a year ago, now just over a year ago. While the act that inspired the article was still a great thing that happened, I thought, because my friend had shared it on Facebook, that it had just happened, maybe as some sort of act of defiance against Trump. So basically, because, as Barlow says, everything stays on the internet forever, we have to be really careful about what we share and make sure not to perpetuate the spread of information that might not be true or relevant anymore.