Friday, August 20, 2010

The Elephant That Never Forgets

Google CEO Eric Schmidt claimed recently we share too much personal information online, and people may one day reinvent themselves to escape their digital past. Sounds extreme, but social networking HAS forced us to look closer at on-line privacy and identity.
The WWWeb and social networking bring many benefits. Facebook and Twitter have enabled people to reconnect with friends and family. They've also transformed online search and breaking news. But social networking also allows you to embarrass yourself or ruin your reputation - once it's online, it's global in seconds, and can still be found decades later!
It is not uncommon now for a job application to include social network account information: tech-smart employers may check out Facebook profiles and Tweeting histories. This gives employers an unfiltered look at who you really are, and is a much more effective tool than psychological personality tests: what you say/do online says a lot about you.
So, a bad idea to bad-mouth your boss or job on-line, or post pics and status updates about the fun you're having at the beach... after you called in sick. Employers are watching.
Who you know may decide if you get a loan. Some banks check your social contacts that also do business with them. Based on their credit history, the bank may make an assumption about what sort of credit risk you are. So ask yourself: how well do I really know those 10,137 friends?
Lawyers too find these sites can be evidentiary gold mines. Did your husband's new girlfriend tweet about getting jewelry? Courts might see that as marital assets being disbursed to a third party. Did your wife tell the court she's incapable of getting a job? Then why is she chasing job interviews on-line?
The Internet is "the elephant that never forgets". I would not recommend changing your whole identity to dodge your digital past, but I always recommend discretion and common sense online.

PS: 20 Jan.2011 - And if you need proof, here it is...

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