Posted by: mydarkestplaces | July 8, 2012

Online Universe

When I was graduating from college (lo those many years ago [six years…it was only six years ago]) Facebook was just starting to hit its stride. My college had joined when you still had to petition to join, but quickly Facebook went from colleges only to companies and high school kids. They went from the spartan, linear timeline where the most exciting thing was “poking” somebody and soon we could add pictures, tag friends and do much of what folks would consider the cornerstone of Facbeook today. Boy was it an exciting time!

It didn’t take long for the status messages to read like a parody of college life: “Drank five handles of Vodka last night, I think I’m going to die from this hangover”, “Smoked weed with Joe’s dad last night. Awesome!”, or “If you’re the person who walked me home last night, thanks. I don’t remember any of it LOLz”.*

As the rate of these posts and pictures increased, our Career Services team got on the case. To paraphrase, “Someday you’re going to apply for a job. That company may look you up online. Do you really want the pictures of you blacked out drunk at the Tick Tock to be what they find?” Even if I hadn’t already been a reasonable child, the entreaties by Carol and company really nailed home the fact that you don’t want to be stupid online because it could easily last for years down the line.

This is a long lead-in to the crux of the matter.

Don’t be stupid online. Well. Be stupid. Kvetch about things. Use scandalous language. Offend people. Do whatever you want – but don’t do it from an account that can be traced back to you, whether by email, name or other clues. You don’t want to burn bridges before you have a chance to build them (or, conversely, burn bridges that you have already built but want to save).

 

*In a particularly reassuring fact, I just took a swing through my timeline from 2005/2006. There’s nothing that scandalous there. Good job, Past Self.


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