Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Internet Never Forgets

Carolyn J. Rose

It doesn’t seem fair.
I struggle to remember names and dates and places.

 The Internet never forgets. In fact, not only does its vast memory hold correct information, but it has room for erroneous information as well.

I lose addresses and scraps of paper on which I’ve jotted the titles of books I intend to read, chores I need to complete, and phone calls that should be made.

The Internet keeps everything.

I have to winnow out clothes and books and reorganize closets and shelves to make room for new acquisitions. The Internet just adds another shelf, another closet, another room, another warehouse.

And once something is stored on the Internet, good luck tossing it out or altering it.

I’ve authored books now out of print and no longer available, but apparently the Internet isn’t convinced of that. I have profiles I can’t seem to change on social media sites I no longer belong to. My father died in 2003, but I’ve found a place on the Internet where he’s listed as being in his 90s and living in a house sold years ago.

I find that weird and even painful. But I also find it oddly comforting.

I’ve started to think of the Internet as a scrapbook that’s been in the family for decades. The tape has yellowed and the glue no longer sticks. Pictures and notes have come loose, been stuffed behind others, or crammed into a rubber-banded stack at the back of the book. It’s all there. You just have to know where to look.

As I get older and begin to forget more little things and my mind starts to wander and betray me, I’m cheered by the thought that the Internet has my back. I’ll be okay. As long as I can find my password.


  1. Well, I believe that's a healthy attitude about something we can't really do anything about anyway. Frustration doesn't seem to help. Anger doesn't seem to help. Looking at the internet as a faithful, but often misguided friend may help us all maintain our sanity.
    However, I look at my poor old brain the same way: as an old scrapbook with yellowing tape. The problem is, those sepia-tinted memories have fallen behind a filing cabinet or under a sofa and I can no longer get down on my knees to retrieve them. (quavery sign)

  2. Pam, break out the snacks and I'll be over to help move that sofa.

  3. Hi Carolyn,

    I am still quite good at remembering some of those trivial bits of information, like addresses, birthdays and phone numbers, although they they are all neatly written in my address book, ready for that rainy day when I might start to forget them ... or for hubbie who already has problems now!!

    The Internet is another mystery to me completely. If my own personal tech support (AKA hubbie), wasn't around, I would be off the air quite quickly, believe me!

    Every time I bemoan the fact that I have erroneously deleted a piece of vital information, he comes out with something like "you may think you have deleted that, but you haven't really. Even though you can't see it, it will still be there somewhere!" It makes me feel totally inadequate and sometimes slightly miffed, if I had actually wanted to delete something!!