How Much Do You Reveal About Yourself?

By Margaret Orem On August 3rd, 2009 in business impact, employment, social commerce, social media, social networks, social stuff /

How Much Do You Reveal About Yourself?

You may believe that you are being very circumspect in what and where you post and what networks, groups, and forums you join.  You may find it very enlightening and you may be surprised how many others are “watching you” or “checking you out” on the internet.

You may find yourself in a meeting and the individual with whom you are meeting has done his or her internet due diligence on you. The individual will tell you facts about you that will be surprising to you that they were so easily discovered. You may find that it takes minimal effort  to discover what causes you support, whether you made any political donations, what membership organizations and networks you joined, what your core beliefs and values are, your birthday, whether you graduated from a postsecondary educational institution and the year of your graduation, with whom you are connected, etc. The list continues with photos, residence, telephone, work, directory information, criminal history, and many other criteria.  

Without even asking you one question, people will know a lot about you and will form opinions. You are simply data on the internet—a compilation of facts and postings. You can be perceived as a person of ill-repute or good rapport simply by what you post. You can be tracked for suspicious activities by authorities, tracked by a potential employer conducting due diligence, spammed through capture of your email address, contacted and watched by potential suitors, stalked by criminals, monitored by parent(s), “followed” by friends and colleagues, managed by search engines to optimize your stay on sites, as well as categorized by shopping sites and teased to buy other things based on your purchase or page review history. Your passwords can be retained by your system if you choose and used to automatically log you on the next time you wish to visit a site, which incidentally you can choose to bookmark or permit to pop up in a URL drop down list.

It is another world on the internet. If you believe that you are protecting your privacy – think again. You are on public display when you are on the internet, whether you are trying to be circumspect or not. Some individuals believe that parents should protect their children while children are on the internet, regardless how they protest. There is no sure fire way to protect them. All we can do is minimize their vulnerability.

It is a wise lesson for us all. Our “business” is out there. Take an internet photo of yourself-capture what is already public information and you will get a picture of who you are. You are a singular unique individual who is of great importance to friends and family. Protect yourself as you would protect a child. Treat yourself as though you were a King or Queen. You are significant and you deserve respect. Let your postings and affiliations speak for you. Do not be afraid to be authentic with dignity and let your public persona shine. Your information is out there; therefore, let it reflect the real you.

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