Reporter Kashmir Hill of the NY Times likens the internet to “a fossil machine.” It preserves our reactions, photos, jokes, songs, political positions, foibles and much else “in silicon amber, just waiting to be dug up.” Social content that describes who you were years ago is flattened, fossil-like, into who you are now, Hill writes.
Digging up those fossils is bloodsport now. It consists of finding old material on social that will embarrass a target, putting it on display “for all to see and hop[ing] for the worst.”
Particularly vulnerable are the young, who grew up chronicling much of their lives on social. As a result, they provide a lot of material for social media archaeologists. Recently, fossilized posts of two young journalist were discovered. The results were just as Hill described.
First there was Alexi McCammond, 27, whose disparaging tweets about Asian-Americans, posted 10 years ago while she was in college, resurfaced. The controversy over those tweets led McCammond and future employer Condé Nast to agree that she should vacate the top editorial job at Teen Vogue just days before she was set to start.
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