Elizabeth Bernstein over at The New York Times has an interesting look at another use for the Internet.

Along with helping people reconnect with old flames, childhood friends and even long-lost relatives, the Internet is giving rise to a newer phenomenon: the decades-late apology.

The Web allows us to converse by email, a form of communication that often makes us braver and more impulsive–and occasionally even more thoughtful–about what we say.

There are even Web sites, such as ThePublicApology.com and PerfectApology.com, dedicated to facilitating our quest for absolution.

And among all those people we are finding from our past online, there is bound to be someone we wronged somehow, right?

In reporting this column, I heard tales of people asking forgiveness for everything from failing to return a library book to dating a college roommate’s ex-boyfriend.

One man apologized to his brother-in-law for telling his sister years before not to marry the man. Another told of contacting a university that had admitted him 13 years earlier and apologizing for never filling out the questionnaire they had sent him asking why he chose not to attend. “I just wanted to set things right,” he said.

Photo by perfectapology.com.

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