Sometimes, usually late at night, you post something that feels like a good idea at the time and after you hit send – 1 second, 10 minutes, an hour or a day later – you freeze and think I should not have posted this.
It’s a horrible freeze, like your tummy is turning to cement and being filled with butterflies all at once. And it brings you to a fork in the road, do you delete it or let it live for eternity?
I’ve watched both happen and I’ve done both options and it always feels yucky.
That said, before you take action, first go back and check out what you’ve done in the cold light of day. Is it really offensive or is it just out of your comfort zone? The fact that it’s uncomfortable to live with points to one of two things – either you really didn’t mean what you said or you really did.
If what you’ve posted isn’t what you really believe, or it’s too much truth than you’re willing to share, then go ahead and delete it with whorish abandon. I think the sense of dread we get at posting the wrong thing is partly because it looks so set in stone. For a decade now we’ve been warned that what happens in Vegas, stays on the internet forever, but that’s only a little bit true.
Here’s the big data about social media: there are over 3 million status/photo updates every minute on Facebook alone. That’s not counting all the other posts on all the other channels we use daily. With numbers like that, I’m going to hazard a guess that not all posts get seen, and if they do, they don’t all get read, and if they do, they probably don’t all get judged.
I know that your online community is comparatively small that number, so if even one of your friends or peers or colleagues or family members see what you’ve posted, that can be enough to send you into a tail spin – but remember to cap it to there, it probably hasn’t gone any further than that.
But our inner lizard, who is terrified on making a wrong move, will still be insisting that your off-remark will go viral and probably end up exactly where you don’t want it – on the front page of the paper! Highly unlikely, but the inner lizard’s fear knows no bounds.
If you decide to delete, go ahead and just do it. Feel the extreme liberation of taking back what you said, whether you meant it or not. Because you can delete stuff off the internet, not everyone is watching us all the time, like my ego would have me believe!