Profile dangers in a digital age

I heard an interesting discussion on the radio today.

It talked about the inbuilt social checks and balances that no longer exist in society, because of the permanent nature of both true and false data in the twenty first century.

One aspect of this is the idea of forgiveness.

In the past, if you were to fall out with someone you may stay annoyed with them for week, months, maybe even years, however as time went by, the reason for being annoyed with them would subside along with the feeling of being annoyed, until you may have more reason to get back together as friends than to stay apart.

However in the twenty first century, every emotion, every thought is recorded on Facebook, Myspace, blogs and email, providing us with a permanent record of how we felt at that time. Upon accessing these records weeks, months, even years later, we are immediately transported back to that moment in time where those feelings and emotions were still raw, and the social balance is negated.

Another aspect of this is public profile

By relying more upon publicly held record, we begin to switch from ‘disbelieving things that we see until proven’ to ‘believing things that we see until disproven’. In this world somebody with a camera phone and rudimentary grasp of Photoshop can put your face in a crowd or compromise your integrity, then spread the images world wide at the click of a button.

Forging documents has been practiced from the invention of the pen, however in this day and age, digital documents which can equally be forged, are given more credibility when presented as fact.

But sometimes we create a rod for our own backs.

My generation has a slightly better grasp of public profile that the generation below us. We are aware that the images and documents that we post on our public profiles no longer belong to us the moment we press ‘send’.

Perhaps this is because we are more aware of the damage that can be done to our careers and relationships that we have worked hard to build and protect, than a sixteen year old posting pictures on Facebook that they may regret ten years later, or writing an article that later requires explanation.

Facebook say that they keep information for a minimum of six years, however which agencies or even individuals keep that data even longer?

Most employers that I have spoken to, and people that I meet, readily admit that they will Google a candidate that has applied for a job, or carry out a search on the person that they are about to meet for a date.

When was the last time you Googled yourself, not out of vanity, but to see what other information there is about you that you did not post in Cyberspace? A public profile is no longer just how you look when you leave your front door.

What does your public profile look like?

I guess for us the horse had bolted, leaving the stable door off its hinges, however it is certainly worth considering, the next time someone points their phone in your direction at the office party.


~ by jeditopcat on 22 June, 2010.

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