(Image from http://open.salon.com/blog/thegreenmarket/recent)
Whether we like it or not, all of us have a digital footprint, leading to a digital dossier, created from the time we were born. If you belong to the Baby Boomers, you may have less public information on show and more private information hidden away in secure databases. You might also be a bit more reticent about the information you share on blogs or your Facebook page. Not so, however, with Gen Y who seem very happy to post all kinds of information about themselves, with little thought for future consequences and job prospects.
Seth Godin shared this on his blog in January this year:
A friend advertised on Craigslist for a housekeeper.
Three interesting resumes came to the top. She googled each person’s name.
The first search turned up a MySpace page. There was a picture of the applicant, drinking beer from a funnel. Under hobbies, the first entry was, “binge drinking.”
The second search turned up a personal blog (a good one, actually). The most recent entry said something like, “I am applying for some menial jobs that are below me, and I’m annoyed by it. I’ll certainly quit the minute I sell a few paintings.”
And the third? There were only six matches, and the sixth was from the local police department, indicating that the applicant had been arrested for shoplifting two years earlier.
Three for three.
Google never forgets.
Of course, you don’t have to be a drunk, a thief or a bitter failure for this to backfire. Everything you do now ends up in your permanent record. The best plan is to overload Google with a long tail of good stuff and to always act as if you’re on Candid Camera, because you are.
You’ve probably seen this video before, but it’s worth another look:
How is ‘ digital’ different? – It’s ‘easily copied, instantly shared, easily edited and viewable by millions’. (Dean Shareski http://www.slideshare.net/shareski/your-digital-footprint) It’s out there forever!!
One of the biggest challenges facing us in the future will be to teach our students to use the internet in thoughtful, ethical and responsible ways. We need to teach them not only to be more discerning about which photos they post or what screen names they use – in other words to think about not creating a negative digital footprint – but we also need to teach them how to create a positive digital footprint:
Check out Ransometech’s wiki full of links about Digital Footprints