Right To Be Forgotten Should Be About Correcting Harm And Reputation Management, Not Restricting Speech
In our digital age / third-wave society, the concept of privacy has changed.
Many may even say that it has been diluted or diminished to the point where there is almost no expectation of privacy.
Younger generations routinely share information in ways that would make adults faint.
Today, people build social media and digital histories that showcase every aspect of their lives, warts and all.
But does this mean the importance of one’s reputation has weakened?
Not at all.
Nor does it mean that people should have less responsibility about what information they share online about themselves or others.
If anything, the spread of online information has increased the importance of monitoring and managing one’s reputation online. Eliminating negative, and potentially damaging information (to your personal and professional life), has become a mini-industry. It impacts local businesses, large corporations, brands, and individuals.
When it comes to personal and professional information, I have been, and remain, a huge advocate of establishing a “right to be forgotten” online. In my view, it is a principle that is, at its core, fundamentally American (though I concede that my definition of “American” may differ from others).
When I read the Zero Hedge story about New York state Assemblyman David I. Weprin‘s bill to establish a “right to be forgotten” online, (see New York Assemblyman Unveils Bill To Suppress Non-Government-Approved Free Speech) I was interested to learn more about it.
The Zero Hedge headline raised some alarm bells for me, because while I am a staunch advocate of a digital code of ethics and reputation management, I also value free speech. Under no circumstances should “right to be forgotten” legislation impact free speech.
In reviewing the article and Weprin’s bill, the problem I have with the legislation is that it goes beyond what is necessary to establish protections for people online by requiring “people” to remove ‘inaccurate,’ ‘irrelevant,’ ‘inadequate’ or ‘excessive’ statements about others that are posted online.
Normally, “right to be forgotten” legislation or regulations place the responsibility of removal exclusively on search engines, such as Google. The European standard, for example, does this and by all accounts works rather well.
In many ways, placing the burden on a search engine makes more sense and is more manageable. While anyone can post information on a website, it is a search engine that indexes the data and makes it available to a mass audience. Hence, the search engine can use its algorithm and other technology to block indexing of specific content. This has the affect of removing it from public view, without requiring the content to disappear forever.
Weprin’s legislation does things that are extreme and nonsensical. For example, how can you really define something as irrelevant? Instead of focusing on personal and professional harm (vs the general benefit of society’s right to know), deciding if something is “no longer material to current public debate or discourse,” is a dangerous and highly subjective standard.
Even the phrase “legal matters relating to violence,” is incredibly broad, and could prevent people who are either the victims of violence or the victims of false accustations the ability to have such information removed.
Free speech advocates are absolutely correct to protest Assemblyman Weprin’s legislation.
While I do agree with Tyler Durden that there is no “right to be forgotten” in the abstract, I disagree that such a law is unnecessary. Accusations, court filings, inaccurate and false information online can cause irreparable harm to one’s personal and professional relationships, which coincides with a great many freedoms we value in this country.
The goal of a legitimate and effective “right to be forgotten” law is not to censor speech, or ensure total anonymity from the world. But rather to provide some measure of balance and recourse to individuals who want to protect their reputation from unreasonable aspersions, and harm. To accomplish this – I do think the Europeans have done something very good that I want to see replicated – simply – in states across the country.
A few years ago, I wrote a popular blog post entitled “15 Ways To Get Your Mojo Back.”
While that post has generated over 30,000 unique views on the Social Web Tactics website, and thousands more on LinkedIn and other websites, and has been a great resource for me and others to turn to, I want to write more about motivation and the general theme of how we can find that inner energy that propels us forward, and encourages us to do more and be more.
I have entitled this post “How To Get Motivated and Restore Your Energy and Enthusiasm, Part 1,” because I plan on writing other segments on this same topic, as well as more specific posts.
In fact, over the coming weeks, I will write more about how to become more motivated, as well as how to break bad habits and form good ones, how to ideate or brainstorm ideas, and the notion of how we all can seize each day for greater success.
I am doing this for a few different reasons. For starters, the research necessary to write about these topics is going to open new techniques and knowledge for me, so that I can grow. I also believe that by researching, and creating a written road-map, I will reinforce new principles and be more likely to make them part of my life. And lastly, by putting new skills out there – and sharing them – it will give you and other people the opportunity to learn and grow as well.
So, how can we get motivated?
AWARENESS OF HOW YOU ARE THINKING
One of the biggest obstacles to motivation and personal energy is the feeling of being overwhelmed, or thinking that you have too many things to do, and not enough time to accomplish everything. Many of us have a tendency to over complicate things in our lives, which can be a self-defeating mindset. By thinking that things are not possible, we start down a path of building negative energy in our minds.
Some people will say there is nothing wrong with being “realistic” or “practical” or “keeping your feet on the ground.” All of which is true.
But lost in the maze of the buzzwords and phrases is the fact that success can be practical and realistic, and there is nothing practical about thinking that there is too much work, or thinking things won’t get accomplished on-time or at all.
George Carlin, the late, great comedian, shared a wonderful bit of insight during one of his HBO stand-up performances that has stuck with me for many years. He said that we think in terms of language. And the quality of our thoughts is only as good as the quality of our language.
So, when we use negative words to describe situations, we change from positive to negative thoughts. Once our thinking becomes more negative, our mood and energy immediately goes from positive and high, to down and low.
What this comes down to is having awareness of you are of how you are thinking.
Bruce Schneider, who wrote the book “Energy Leadership,” defines consciousness as “your level of self-awareness,” as it relates to your true self. It sounds philosophical to talk about “awareness”, but put simply, Schneider’s belief is that everyone has the ability to achieve anything they want to achieve. However, problems arise and we become limited when we accept limiting views or definitions of ourselves. He writes that our level of self-awareness, the quality of how we think about ourselves and the world around us determines the energy we have and what we are able to accomplish. The more we believe we are not capable, the lower our energy, and the less we will get done.
Makes sense, right?
So, how does this translate into a motivational tip?
MAKE SUCCESS LESS COMPLEX
As I wrote above, we often look at tasks we must accomplish or our lives in general, and over-complicate the moment. We think there is too much work. Or we allow ourselves to become overwhelmed by work, family, friends, and life as a whole. As a result, we immediately start to lose our positive energy, and our motivation to move forward.
I called this a mindset, because that is all it really is – a way of thinking; a perspective. And since it is only a thought in your mind, it can be changed.
Start by making success less complex.
Get out some paper, and make a list of some small, and very specific goals.
And by small, I mean it can be very small.
- At work, write down 3 simple things you want to get done. But keep them very simple. You want the task to be something you can complete in a few seconds. Stay away from things that you can over-complicate, such as writing an email. Focus instead on things that will have some positive impact: Get a glass of water, file 3 documents, and find inspiring motivational quotes.
- At home or working remotely, do the same thing – write down 3 simple things you want to get done. You can do the same things listed above, or you can do something else, such as: quickly wash a glass or dish, empty your trash, or clean your glasses.
You may think of this as “setting the bar low.” Others use the expression “KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid” (or Keep It Smart and Simple). I would recommend you avoid those phrases or characterizations, because they are going to be counter-productive to raising your energy level and restoring your motivation.
I prefer to think of it as the first step in energy restoration.
When you think about it – which would you prefer to do? “Lower The Bar” or “Restore My Energy” or “Get My Mojo Back”?
Remember, this about taking positive steps to change our mindset, restore energy, and get motivated, so you can tackle bigger and more important tasks.
The next step is to cross off the three things you have done, and add three more things. They can be at the same level, too. In fact, when you were going to get a glass of water, you may have thought of something else that is simple that you need to do. Maybe you need to print a document? Or return a document to someone? Maybe you need to ask someone a question? Or maybe there is a person you have been meaning to say “hello” to or something similar? All of those things can go on a list, and be accomplished quickly. After you have done this a few times, you could have potentially accomplished a dozen or more tasks in 15 or 20 minutes. Then you are ready to increase the complexity of your tasks.
So, let’s recap:
- Be aware of how you are thinking and feeling. You can accomplish great things, but if you are feeling down – acknowledge how you are feeling, and recognize that you need a boost.
- Stay away from negative phrases or characterizations about your circumstances or the moment. They are only going to fuel your bad feelings, and make you feel worse.
- Take steps to making the moment less complex by listing very simple tasks to accomplish. Call this the time to restore your energy or get your mojo back.
- Reward yourself or celebrate accomplishing the simple tasks.
- Identify the next level of tasks you need to complete, and repeat the process.