Your online persona can give the world a different perspective of who you are, even if you don’t mean to. Everyone has a digital footprint and it is important to remember nothing online is private. Whether it is a comment, picture, or video, it could give people the wrong impression and create problems in areas you would never suspect later on.
It seems to be a daily occurrence that you hear about someone somewhere who posted something negative online, and will almost certainly face backlash with potential consequences. The idea that when something is shared, posted, tweeted, etc. it’s out there for good with no delete option seems to slip many peoples mind. I have worked with several people that have been disciplined for negative content they have posted online. There is also the safety issues that can happen from people oversharing personal information online like identity theft.
Following netiquette guidelines is important in creating and maintaining a positive digital footprint. Go HERE for more information.
I graduated high school in the year 2000 so fortunately I was able to experience the world before the internet became a necessity. However, I have had an online presence since the days of Prodigy and AOL internet services, not to mention the always fun to use dial up internet! During those years I could only imagine the immature cringe worthy things I may have posted or said. Luckily I think because they are so old and internet technology has drastically changed, I cannot find anything from back then… thank goodness!
I am an overcautious introvert and like to keep my personal and professional life separate, so when social media became a thing I have always been very careful with what I say or do. For most of the 2000’s I actually used pseudonyms to avoid people finding me online. My friends and family thought it was odd, but I knew it was becoming common for employers to search online for potential/current candidate’s digital footprints and I did not want something I said or posted from years before to prevent me from getting hired/promoted.
When I searched for my own digital footprint the results were what I expected, not much. There is a famous athlete with the same name which flooded most of the search results. When I used my full name and location, the only things that came up were basic info records that are already public information (like a phone book, remember those?). My name actually showed up more often under family relatives records than my own. When I searched for myself in specific apps and websites, I could locate myself but all are set to private and do not use a profile pic of myself. The only exceptions were for my GitHub, twitter, and LinkedIn profiles which were created to be shown to the world only in a positive way.