With the onset of the digital communications, smart phones, and variety of electronic communication methods that are now available to us – our lives have become infinitely more simple, right? Probably true: but they’ve also become considerably more open to scrutiny as well.
A few years ago, I was holding workshops for parents designed to teach them about the need for developing solid internet security practices for themselves and their families. For instance: how to spot insecure photo postings (blur all addresses, license plates, etc., to inhibit the ability for anyone to place a geographic location on your posting); placement of home computers to inhibit young people from visiting inappropriate websites; developing a new set of digital parenting skills to accommodate our rapidly shifting tech structure.
Now employers are rapidly jumping on the information planted randomly around the internet. I don’t know about you, but in my youth I often made judgement calls that were less than ‘educated.’ In fact, I made some downright stupid decisions: but that was part of a learning process, and consequences were often limited to private indiscretions that involved a minimal number of people.
Now the internet is akin to plastering a billboard of your most embarrassing moments in front of every one of your relatives, surrounded by floodlights.
The concept of freedom of speech has completely changed. While in years past, one could easily have a radical point of view on a certain topic, and usually not experience too much confrontation over it: not anymore. Be ready to defend your POV, and make sure that you want to share it (even with complete strangers).
Employers started demanding Facebook passwords (thankfully, this is now under control); but nothing stops them from searching you out on the ‘net to make sure that your POV will fit in with their corporate structure.
I’ve always told my kids that whatever they post, assume I will see it. Keep that in the back of your mind, as you are composing a rant about whatever topic you feel passionate about this week. Once it’s out there: it’s out there. Forever. Thirty years later, it could come back to bite you in the a**.
Don’t let it.