You may think that the only people reading what you write on the Internet are your friends, but that’s not really true. That funny pic of you doing the faux lesbian thing on Facebook when you were drunk? That may not be so funny if your mom somehow sees it. Your quip about how you’d like to kill somebody also might not sound so fantastic if it’s read in a courtroom in front of a judge — and don’t think it could never end up there. The fact of the matter is, unless you really know what you’re doing, all it generally takes is a warrant from the police to track you down. Your weird, inside joke on Twitter that makes you sound like a psycho? That may not look so cute when a woman you’re interested in reads your Twitter feed to get an idea of what you’re like.
Remember, folks, the Internet can be FOREVER and whatever dumb thing you do today may still show up when someone does a Google search for you a decade from now. Here’s a little secret: over the years, I’ve had multiple people write me and ask me to take down unflattering articles at Right Wing News because what I’d written was showing up in Google searches and they were afraid it would affect their chances to get a job. Most of the time, I did it, not because I had to, but because I tend to have some sympathy for ordinary people who get judged for the rest of their lives based on a stupid comment or mistake. However, not only were there times where I declined for whatever reason, there were other times when I Googled the person’s name and found another half dozen different articles covering the same ground. Once you get to that point, you’re screwed because there’s no chance that ALL of those people are going to show you a little mercy.