I’ve seen so many trolls, and snarky comments online that I think I’m pretty immune to them at this point.  Some people are seriously emboldened by their anonymity, and that makes them say things online and on social media that they would never, ever say to someone face to face.  That can be a deadly mistake.  Unfortunately, what most people don’t realize is that once they post something online, it lives nearly forever.  People can take screen captures of what has been posted, and store those, and publicize them, but the websites themselves are legally bound to keep the data for a very, very long time.  So, a comment may be deleted, but it still exists in your user history.  Think you can delete your user ID and have the information go away?  Not so fast.  That information is kept as well.

That means that the stupid comment you made?  Oh, it just stays around forever.  The kid who told my daughter on Instagram “If you post about my man again, and I’ll gouge your eyes out”?  Well, even though he regretted that comment, and deleted, isn’t going to do him any good.  We’ve got screen captures of it, showing it came from his userid.  If it ever came down to a court case, then well, the police would simply subpoena the logs of what he’s posted anywhere.  Yes.  That stupid comment you made as a teenager, in the heat of the moment?  It lives on forever.  It can follow you forever.  Threatening my daughter for posting a picture of an idol?  Not so smart either.

Let me state that again.  Comments you make online, send via text, email, or other electronic means, live on for a very long time.  It doesn’t matter if you delete those comments, because the records and logs of those are there, forever.  It’s a federal law.  It also sucks, because when I was a teenager, stupid stuff we said maybe ended up in a fist fight.  Make a comment like that on social media, and you can land yourself in jail, with a record.  There is no margin for error.  For adults or for kids.

Watch what you say online.  Treat it all as public, because it might as well be.  Know that the stupid comment you make can and will live on forever.  Oh, and I might decide to use you as an example in my blog.