Daniel J. Solove’s “The Future of Reputation”
In the past, oral gossip could tarnish a reputation, but it would fade from memories over time. People could move elsewhere and start anew. The printed word, however, was different. As Judge Benjamin Cardozo wrote in 1931: “What gives the sting to writing is its permanence in form. The spoken word dissolves, but the written one abides and perpetuates the scandal.”90 In the past, people could even escape printed words because most publications would get buried away in the dusty corners of libraries. The information would be hard to retrieve, and a sleuth would have to devote a lot of time to dig it up. The Internet, however, makes gossip a permanent reputational stain, one that never fades. It is available around the world, and with Google it can be readily found in less than a second.
This is how our reputations are formed and found currently.
The Future of Reputation is available online for free – http://docs.law.gwu.edu/facweb/dsolove/Future-of-Reputation/text.htm