January 23rd, 2012 | Opinion

How to Train Your Internet

The Internet never forgets.
The Internet never forgets. Photo by Wikimedia Commons.

We’ve all heard the cautionary tales: colleges doling out rejections to bright-eyed seniors sporting age-inappropriate Facebook pictures, businesses nixing qualified applicants due to some scandalous online paper trails. Your parents warned you. You counselors warned you. And maybe you caved, dutifully purging, editing or otherwise altering any and all records of what you did last Friday night. Or maybe you dismissed the warnings as little more than paranoia of a digital age.

Whatever the case, take heed: much like diamonds and cockroaches, the Internet is forever. Just ask Marc Cendella ’88.

Cendella, the founder of a popular job search website, wants to run for office in New York. Specifically, he’s a Republican with his eyes on Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s seat. Yet he may need to avert his eyes; a series of online foibles might forever hamper his hopes. A webpage billed as Cendella’s featured “random observations about sex, women and drugs,” with references to jockstraps, marijuana, various sex acts and Donald Trump’s “Apprentice,” according to the New York Times. Particularly intriguing posts include “High Quality Dope” and “Dating Advice for Girly Girls.”

Such scandals have rarely felled a political campaign. But Cendella’s particular problem is one unique to the digital age, as is his alibi: that the offending posts were a product of Internet spam. And now, thanks to the grade-A sleuthing at the Times, Cendella’s accomplishments will forever be tied to “Sexy vs. Skanky” and “He Stole My Weed.”

Kids, check yourself before you wreck yourself. After all, one ill-advised foray with social media could change your life forever.