March 2, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-03-02 at 8.40.45 PM








Digital things are disappearing. Literally. Like socks that have been eaten by the dryer. Things are missing, they’re gone. But forever? Will they show up someday? The culprit is Virtual Pixie Dust.

Take Snapchat for example . . . this isn’t news. There’s been a great deal of conversation about that platform and it’s magic ability to share content and make it disappear. But what about other types of disappearing digital data?

Mark Cuban just shared what he sees in his crystal ball for the tech industry. Enter Cyber Dust, an app that lets users send disappearing texts and multimedia.

“Anything that can be misconstrued in any way, shape or form, I’m going to do it on Cyber Dust,” Cuban said. “There’s a digital footprint for everything, and it becomes harder [to own] the playbook of our lives on Facebook or on email or texts. It’s hard to have context that’s right.”

As I process this digital disappearing epidemic, a few questions come to mind:

Is it ever really gone? The content, that is. Where does it go? Can an intern at Snapchat access these short videos that have disintegrated from the publisher’s (my) hands? Does Cyber Dust have an insurance policy?

Is this allowed? Can we really erase everything we do? It’s like having a dry eraser following in our digital footsteps. Yep. This is allowed because there were never any rules against the idea. The folks who write the rules would never imagined the need for a ban against digital pixie dust. It simply wasn’t on the rules roadmap.

Is this ‘freedom’ or ‘lack of accountability’? The i-jury is still out on this one.

What else are we going to be able to delete next? Does this raise “free speech” into question? Imagine: No digital footprints, just virtual pixie dust. What if you could lock your information into a virtual vault and only people whom you gave permission could access your digital data? (Kind of like a credit score.)

share this post