Technology is wonderful. I don’t know about you, but I am a technology freak! I love the gadgets and latest software. I ask myself, “When we had faxes, we used to think, ‘What would we do without fax machines?’” Now with computers and the Internet, we ask ourselves the same question.
When it comes to social media, the jury is out; people love it! However, many believe it gives them a license to live an alternate life; a life that if they had no scruples nor anyone who would make them feel ashamed, this is what they would do. But, since many have been raised well and know what is right and wrong, they create a digital persona where they can remove the so-called shackles and be wild.
The problem with this is that many believe that it will never catch up with them. They are sadly mistaken. Here are some things you should consider before you decide to make that inappropriate comment or post that racy picture online.
One thing great about the Internet is that you can find archived information that goes as far back as the Internet has been posting data. In the digital world, 10 years is a lifetime! So you can be sure that whatever you post on the Internet will STAY on the Internet.
When you’re young, the things that seemed so cool may not seem so cool when you’re in your twenties and starting a career and life. While taking a racy picture of you, drunk, with some friends at a party may seem like a cool idea that may make you popular in high school or college at the time, when you’re looking for a job or starting a new relationship, it’s not the kind of thing you want someone to find.
Gone are the days when an employer took a resume as the only research to see if you are the right person for the company. Today, especially with so many companies having their own social-media departments for marketing purposes, they are searching the Internet to do background checks on applicants.
They will look at Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, YouTube and others, to see what you may have posted. The pictures and statements you upload and post will say far more about your character than the pleasant face you display at an interview. That racy photo, racist slur, derogatory joke or demeaning video can be the reason why your job hunting is taking far too long.
Even companies that do not have their own social media departments want this information. So companies like Social Intelligence are being started. According to a Gizmodo article titled I Flunked My Social Media Background Check! Will You?, the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) gave Social Intelligence the green light to conduct these background checks.
With Google being the 800 Lbs gorilla in the search world, they are always looking for ways to outdo Bing, especially since Bing was allegedly caught copying Google’s search algorithm. Hence facial recognition technology! Google recently purchased PittPatt (Pittsburgh Pattern Recognition) a facial recognition technology company. Now no one knows what they will do with this technology, but if Google employs it to the levels in which they normally embark on projects (think Google Earth, Google Maps, the largest online library, etc.) one can envision a future where Google can search the Internet looking for pictures and not text.
What might this mean to you? Imagine that you posted a picture of yourself that you wouldn’t want found, under a pseudonym in some remote network. You think that no one will ever know. Then someone Google’s your name and, since you probably have a Facebook and/or Google+ profile with a picture, it starts to look for your face. Suddenly, a picture that would make the National Enquirer salivate and offer you $10,000 for their next month’s cover is found — by your parents, employer, spouse or children. It can happen!
So think before you post. Ask yourself, would I share this with my mother, father, Pastor, or children? Or, would I be ashamed to do so? Understand that your social media presence is an extension of you and should be treated with the same care and respect that you would treat your normal everyday existence. After all, in the words of Neal Boortz (conservative talk radio host), “You shall know the truth and the truth will make you mad!” I sure hope not.