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Do We Want an Erasable Internet? - WSJ.com
Dec. 22, 2013|| WSJ | By Farhad Manjoo.

Snapchat will have been one of the most fascinating services to hit the Internet in years. To me, the app's exploding popularity suggests that society is yearning for a new way to think about data. Snapchat is one of the first mainstream services to show us that our photos and texts don't need to stick around forever: that erasing all the digital effluvia generated by our phones and computers can be just as popular a concept as saving it.

If the Snapchat model takes off—if other sites and services began to promote the idea of erasability as a competitive feature—the Internet would look very different from the Internet of today. It would be a more private network, one without the constant worry of every ill-considered picture or thought being held up for ridicule by the whole world, forever....Snapchat provides a sense of liberation from the constraints of a permanent record. Of course, we might not have to pick. Big Snapchat-like growth could mean that we'll have a Forever Internet and an Erasable Internet living side by side. Some users mainly will choose apps and services that save our data by default, while others will choose instant deletion. A lot will choose both, depending.
Snapchat  mobile_applications  transient  impermanence  ephemerality  Farhad_Manjoo  invisibility 
december 2013 by jerryking
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