September 27, 2011

Online Reputation: Present, Future, and PAST

As the world around us gets increasingly digital, more and more people are creating a presence for themselves online whether it's through a personal blog, Facebook profile, or a LinkedIn resume. I'm willing to bet that you have at least one social networking account. And as an active member of this digital community, as well as an eager, young, job seeker, I'm sure you're making an effort to keep your online identity professional in the eyes of potential employers, right? So your profile picture depicts a sweet, innocent smile, and you're watching what you post and tweet? Good. Well, Facebook may have just thrown a wrench in that.
Have you heard about the new Facebook profile design? It's basically a timeline-style scrapbook of all of your activity since you created your account (and before!).

Click to learn more about the Facebook Timeline

The potential problem with this new profile style is that updates that once were safely burrowed within the dark, mysterious depths of your "Older Posts" now have the potential to surface in an easily accessible place. You might be watching your posts NOW but how focused were you on a squeaky clean identity a couple years ago? When the new design rolls out towards the end of the week, it might be a good idea to comb through your profile and make sure there's nothing incriminating there.
But Facebook isn't the only place where an embarrassing past could be hiding. Did you ever have a MySpace account? LiveJournal? If you have old personal accounts that you don't use anymore, personally, I would just delete them. If you don't want to delete them, you might want to at least check what's publicly visible from that account. If you want to have a personal account where you allow yourself to be uncensored, that's ok (personally, I wouldn't but that's up to you), but make sure there are no ties to your name or face nor those of anyone you know.

Katie Hazard | Digital Artist, User Experience Designer | @katie_hazard
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