On-line identity

26 03 2009

stick_figureMy generation, once described as the Future Leaders of our country, should be a little concerned about how easy it will be for their opposition or enemies to dig up dirt from their past.

Thanks to the digital age, our every move on-line is documented, stored, and will be easily found through search engines for years to come.

Social networking has now been a part of my life for a considerable time, for both work and leisure – and while the knowledge of this documentation makes me cautious of my on-line activity, it will not cause me to run and hide from any interaction on the web.

This year there has been numerous examples of  employers utilising social networks to monitor their current employees and screen any future employees. Olivier Blanchard in his post “How to lose your job in 140 or less”, tells the cautionary tale of a woman who had won a job at the US computer company Cisco – and had then proceeded to gripe about it on her Twitter account. Needless to say a Cisco employee found her tweet and responded quickly – not the best way to start a new job??

In the age of applications like Google alerts, a search for any mention of a company’s name is no longer an arduous task – or can be assumed will be hidden like a needle in haystack amongst the huge amount of content on-line.

Julian Cole in his post on Tuesday  – depicts how for the youth of today, your lowest/loosest/most shameful/funniest moments will be documented on networking sites like Facebook – bringing amusement and entertainment to millions of people, and permanent shame to the people involved.

Any people applying for jobs? As mentioned before be warned that many employers are now enlisting Google as a tool for background search. Seth Godin in “Personal branding in the age of Google” describes how relieved his friend must have been to get a closer look at each of the three people who had applied to become her housekeeper – a binge drinker, a job snob, and a criminal – hmmm such a hard choice…

We are now living in a world that is scarily similar to what Ben Elton has satirised in his dystopian novel “Blind Faith“, with our lives, opinions and memories existing on the web.

A lesson to those young folk out there? The ones who are becoming so comfortable with documenting every aspect of their lives on-line? You can’t un-Google yourself.

The Future of the Traditional

19 03 2009

With Google announcing in October 2008 that they have digitised over 7 million books  – the future of books looks set to exist on-line.

While I like to think that I attempt to embrace most advances in technology, I have to admit that I remain a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to personal reading. While I spend hours on-line reading sites, blogs and researching information – I still find that there’s nothing quite like holding a physical book in your own hands.

I recently came across Penguin’s We Tell Stories – Digital Fiction from Penguin, a digital project which wholly demonstrates how far writing has come in the digital arena. With one writer using Google maps to tell his tale, and another writer telling a horror story through a serious of blog posts. The future of literature is interactive and exciting – but will it impact on the quality of the content?

Readers will no longer rely solely on the words on the page to engage them – but now expectations will be set that stories will involve some form of interactivity, will be in original formats, and will even use user generated content – where the reader is in control of the story.

For an increasingly expectant and tech savvy younger audience, it won’t take long for readers to expect these new formats, what does this mean for old classics? While Google’s actions will ensure that most literature won’t be forgotten – will they stand the test of time when compared to the shiny new ones?

Digital has seen the shift of the most traditional aspects of our lives onto the on-line space, businesses, our conversations, our memories, our transactions, and the list continues to grow.