I was more than a little jolly surprised to read the above link on a website one day:
So I did “Click Here For Sexy Videos Of Sean Banville” and wondered (dreaded) what I would find.
“Golly” I thought to myself, “When did I do this? …
… Surely not when….
… Couldn’t have been that time I….”
This was closely followed by “Oh no, what will my wife do when she finds out?”
OK, OK… Before I go on, I must immediately dispel any lingering thoughts that I actually….
There are no videos of me on that site. Or any other site.
Glad we got that out the way.
The above experience brought home to me what I much later learnt to be related to one’s digital footprint – that indelible record of everything you post or do online (or do not post or do!!!).
What worried me about this link was the fact I had absolutely no part to play in this part of my footprint. My name had been taken, hijacked, misused and abused. I have since found dozens of less-than-savory uses of my name that are now part of my digital footprint but not of my making.
What is a digital footprint?
The electronic evidence of a computer user’s activity. These “footprints” can be left by simply joining a website, posting to blogs, releasing any personal information online, or even just connecting to the Internet … In some cases, other Internet users may create digital footprints of you by releasing your information or posing as you. Users are learning more and more about this concept and have come to realize that they might just be able to Google themselves and find their digital footprints. On a more serious note, users must be careful not to leave such a footprint that they will be the target of stalkers, predators and pedophiles.
Now… my concern is what potential future employers might think were they to do a web search on my name prior to considering me for a job.
In terms of the foolish and potentially damaging things one can unwittingly post online (in one’s younger days , of course), I do consider myself fortunate in having a relatively clean footprint. My Facebook page is empty, I haven’t left rants on blogs, my tweets on Twitter have been ‘sensible’.
I have spent thousands of hours online, creating thousands of web pages and surfing gazillions of websites. I have been extremely careful about the information I put online – conscious of that potential, future job. Employers are using web searches and digital footprints more and more when recruiting. My last Google search on my name produced 52,300 results. I’m positive the vast majority of these would not raise any recruiter’s eyebrows. I do, however, wonder about the searches I had no control over.
We have all read in the newspapers or seen on TV how people have been fired, not given jobs or dumped by partners for comments they left on Facebook and other social media sites. A 2007 report on Internet use found: “…most internet users are not concerned about the amount of information available about them online, and most do not take steps to limit that information. Fully 60% of Internet users say they are not worried about how much information is available about them online.”
Now this is a worry – I’d say we need to think more carefully about what we put online. You never know when it might come back to haunt you.
Be careful of video cameras too.