I want to stress that I spend a lot of time looking at my digital foot print.
What is that?
Please note that just because you put something out on the web does not mean you:
1. Are the owner
2. Can control who sees it (despite what they told you in class)
3. Can dodge interviewers by saying, "I was just a kid!"
Some where, some how, anything can be found again.
Sometimes all you need to do is look at a Cached page on a google search. Hint...Myspace you can see deleted profiles that were private that way as well!
Next, there are "timewarp" sites that can let you find something as far back as the 90's. Yep, someone back then thought of owning you too. I bet you thought Facebook was the first to ever violate your rights.
Let me also stress that the cute guy next to you in class is not liable to feel the least bit shy about sharing his mobile pict txts from your last hot session or fight. Sadly, this is what is probably going to eventually cause Social Net's to charge money. They can ID you by a credit card and the government will be happy. Or, more importantly, they will have a stash of money for the liable suit that currently they think their terms and conditions protect them from. Note: Build a better mouse trap and some one will make a better mouse.
Welcome to the Web 2.0 world, it is OPEN and it is UNMONITORED.
Do I have stupid things out there...yep. Those of us who grew with the net were there before we even knew what it meant, let alone how long it would exist. I am pretty sure none of us really know what it all means now or what it will look like in another 20 years. Like the world we live in, the NetWorld is open ended.
So, I do the basic checks, google, etc on a regular basis to make sure I am still 'ok'. This isn't to say some post on a journal in which I was angry won't be found by someone who REALLY wants it. It simply means I know the worst for the average searcher. (Hint: Do these searches before you interview!)
Hint hint...most sites will take things down on request. No one wants a legal battle.
Finally, it is good to see who is checking you out. There are plenty of places to get trackers. My current fave is TraceMyIP.org
Easy to use, easy to place, and the average human doesn't have a clue what it is or what it does. It can give you a quick google map of where the the person is located--and sometimes to the house or building! You can track how often they show up, what pages they are looking at, etc. You can also use this as a cool marketing tracker if you work it correctly.
Either way, I thought I would devote today to sharing with my friends the darker side of Social Networking. Enjoy it, but like a night out at the club, watch your drink.