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.