“The Internet is often eternal,” says PC mag columnist and the host of the weekly podcast CrankyGeeks, John Dvorak. “Once something appears on it, someone will invariably keep a copy of it — or the thing will simply stay online forever. Just as the rest of us are finally forgetting that video of the chubby kid prancing around the room with his light saber, someone will reintroduce it to a whole new generation of viewers. When this kid turns 60, I guarantee that someone will pull out the video at his birthday party.”
Stuff we do online is like a tattoo that never goes away. How can we avoid the possible embarrassment of having to face our digital footprint down the line? Refuse everything that is human interaction via technology! Duh!
- Do not sext. “This is probably the dumbest thing you can do,” he says.
- Facebook and Myspace. “Facebook is a product you use after agreeing to its terms of service,” Dvorak says. “It’s a well known fact that the guy who runs the site is not interested in your privacy. Never assume that anything you post on the Internet is going to stay private. Nothing is.”
- Twitter. “Sounding like an idiot on Twitter with hour-by-hour chatter about your feelings is incredibly revealing,” he says. “Every so often I check in on someone’s tweets, only to discover that the person I just met is a total dingbat.”
- Blogging. “I’ve never understood why someone wants to reveal their innermost feelings on a blog,” Dvorak says. “It’s generally not that entertaining. Too often it focuses on someone’s cat. You have to wonder why people present such sad personalities online. Do they even know that they’re doing it?”
- Chat Rooms. “It’s also very easy to record a video chat,” he says. “What would an employer think if they got a hold of the video? What would your mom think?”
- Flickr. “I constantly use Flickr to do due diligence on people,” he says. “Why not? If someone has hundreds of pictures posted of him or herself, an immediate red flag goes up. Why do you need so many pictures of yourself online? These pictures were usually taken at parties where people end up acting like the Whore of Babylon or an out-and-out drunk.”
- YouTube. “While you can indeed remove videos from YouTube, I can assure you that, if you are really making a fool of yourself, someone will capture the stream and repost it,” Dvorak says. “Again, you can expect to see yourself as a dopey 15-year-old on the big screen of every birthday part from 21 to 60. Like the fat kid with the sword, you may forever be defined by that video.”
Information from PC Magazine.