Saturday, May 14, 2011

How Much Is Too Much?

In terms of giving away personal information online, that’s a very good question. Here on social networking sites, sharing is pretty much a given. But every piece of info you give away can be used against you!

This has many implications. For example: you’re interviewing for a job. Before said interview, your prospective employer does a Google search on your name (or even your initials!). And finds a picture of you doing a keg stand at a frat party. “Well,” would-be boss says. “This guy/gal’s no good. How irresponsible.”

Whoops. Also, goodbye job. Keeping your online image clean is important, but anything you said can and will be used against you in the court of opinion. Say you have no keg-stand pictures, but post on Twitter. A lot. Like, to the point where you’re tweeting “Walkin’!” when you get up to cross the room. Someone might look at this and think you don’t get anything done because you’re online all the time.

It’s a tricky situation. What bothers one person may not bother another. In the above situation, fellow twitterer may go “Welcome aboard! What ideas do you have about bringing our company onto Twitter?”

I’m not saying you should stop—far from it! Just remember being online is like living in the same mid-sized town as any prospective employer. And there are two truths of towns like that: 1: Gossip is forever; 2: Not everyone knows everyone else, but they do know someone who knows you.

This is the world wide web we live in. Frustrating as it might be at times, I still love it.

Stay tuned for more talk about information online!


  1. I love it too, but you're definitely right. I try to tell my 15-year-old that sort of thing too--not that she's saying anything bad or incriminating, but starting blogs has become trendy among her group of friends and other kids don't seem to understand that the web is not their private diary. Excellent post!

  2. Which is why we should be careful about what we post. You are. And I think anyone with any sense thinks about what they are posting before they do it.

    I heard someone say (and of course I forget who) that when posting things on the internet, people forget that it's like plastering stuff on a billboard. I keep that in mind when I put stuff out there.

  3. Yeah, sharing what you think can be frustrating in a social context too.

    I went out to a new social writer's group last night, and didn't really break out of my shy shell that much because I was tired and everybody else there seemed to know each other well, and was sharing in-jokes and so on.

    I posted something about it on my blog last night, and then wondered if somebody from the group had actually started following my Twitter feed, so they'd read about how I felt and wonder if they had to treat me differently the next time I came out.


  4. Great points. The line between our personal and professional lives is disappearing fast, isn't it?

  5. It IS scary how there isn't much space between who we are in public and in private. I think about the stupid things my generation did and how relieved I am that computers, cell phones, etc. weren't in existence yet. Not that I was doing anything wrong.

  6. OOOOh yes! What an awesome post. Very true! People need to be more conscientious of their online image all the time!


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