The long and winding internet trail, that leads to you.

Fred Wilson made waves today with a controversial post about his vision for Social Media: 59 comments on a Sunday (as of 11:53pm), not bad at all, considering that the weather was great in NYC and everybody was outside. In his exact words: "Honestly I am not envisioning anything other than this; every single human being posting their thoughts and experiences in any number of ways to the Internet."

While he admitted that some people will probably find this vision ridiculous, he concluded that "I believe that we are headed to a world which everyone will share their lives with the rest of the world via the Internet. That is social media. It's a huge movement and we are at the start of it"

Some of his readers did in fact find this notion ridiculous, but there was another interesting theme that emerged, that of online privacy. So while some people argued that "not everybody is an extrovert" or "some people don't have anything interesting to share" the most interesting comments (in my humble opinion) addressed the issue of "do I want to share this information with other people", or even better "which parts of my life I want to keep private".

Taking this one step further, let's think about all this information that we share without even knowing. Or even more important: how about this information that we feel comfortable sharing today, not foreseeing the problems or limitations that we are creating to our personal or professional lives 5, 10 or 15 years from now. Photos. Comments. Blogs. Videos. Even groups that you join:
Two years ago, I joined a meetup of Greeks in NYC. There was no mention about this being a singles group, otherwise I wouldn't have signed up (I am happily married with two kids). Luckily, I was googling myself a few months later and I found a link that said something like "meet exciting Greek singles in NYC like Vassilis Bakopoulos". I consider my self "web literate" but I didn't see this one coming.

What does this all mean? There are millions of people using social media. Billions of tagged photos of young kids having fun; drinking; exposing themselves. It's part of being a teenager, we've all been there. Actually, even people leading countries have been there. (Even if they didn't inhale). But the accuracy of recording and organizing this information and keeping it stored for ever is a new phenomenon. And I find it really scary.