Online persona are nowadays just as important as real-life human beings. With people divorcing over virtual infidelity and people having online marriage ceremonies it is becoming clear that the use of The Internet has changed our society in unexpected ways.
It may surprise you to think that online data is vigilantly stored and scrutinized by governmental agencies and even marketing agencies, yet the extent to which this happens may not necessarily be at the level that newspapers will emphatically suggest with their characteristic overdramatized tone. Be that as it may, privacy should be considered a matter of dignity and respect. There are certain situations and actions that should simply not be made public, not even to friends, because there is no way to check that your friends are the information channel’s last link.
If you’ve ever wondered how much your personal online data is worth, try using The Financial Times interactive calculator. It’s packed full of inappropriate questions that most of us would not dare answer if a stranger asked us in the real world. Most of us would cash in about 60p for our information, but it all depends on who’s asking. If you’ve recently bought a car and the interested party is a car insurance provider, well, low and behold, your price goes up.
You’ll be happy to know that Human Resources departments have moved on with the times and are now checking candidates ‘online presence, alongside their CVs and cover letters, for insight into their demeanour, personality, pastimes and interests. So unfortunately, that perfectly justified and hilarious rant about your internet provider that you chose to make public on your Facebook account will probably not do you any good.
Luckily, there are ways of de-cluttering your online presence. Reppler will scan your online image across various social networks, check for inappropriate content and show you the bits of information that you share publicly, so that you may consider keeping them to yourself. It will conveniently allow you to connect to online media platforms like Facebook to change your privacy settings and to adjust your content.
On the other hand, Social Mention checks your posts and comments, what other people have said about you or your interests throughout the years, including in videos, images, blogs etc., and allows you to fix the damage to your otherwise polished presence . Social Mention also reads into how positive or negative these comments are, and will provide a basic ‘sentiment analysis’. Also, you can receive alerts when the keyword you’re looking for, which could be your name or anyone else’s, is ever used again. If you could see your online presence from a potential employer’s perspective, you’d probably think twice before posting anything online again.
The purpose of The World Wide Web and of The Internet is to allow us to communicate openly, to cross borders, to educate and to illuminate. Still, we are devoid of control when it comes to where the information we release ends up, which is a point very aptly expressed in this TED video.