I love playing with new things, new websites, services and devices. But after rejoining Twitter, speared on by extreme peer presure from my colleagues, I discovered how scarily connected the whole world was; suddenly woken up to this world, closely entwined with this new revolution of next generation web technologies.
I'm no stranger to Facebook but Twitter is beginning to take over my life like a... high interest tracker mortgage, or a big bag of drugs. Well, you get the idea; I've never been one for analogies.
Barack Obama documented his presidential election campaign with this tweets,which resulted in him taking control of the Oval Office. Breaking news is spread the second it is published through this medium, covering the entire flock of followers in an immersed world of current events. And friends, family and colleagues sharing important news with one another, of births, deaths and marriages.
Knowledge is power, and with the content we put on the web using Twitter, Facebook, other Social 2.0 websites out there, the content we put out there can be severely damaging to ourselves, our friends, colleagues and partners.
I spoke to the Government guru, Richard Koman, about privacy on the web.
"A friend of mine said he tests this stuff on the "Senator test." He imagines he is a US Senator and imagines if some action he's contemplating would make the news. "Sen. Stolarz dances at party with lampshade on head" or "Sen. Stolarz attends swingers party" etc. If so, he doesn't do it."
He touched on employment issues in regards to the content we publish on the web. If you were fresh out of law school and wanted a six-figure salary in a well-known law firm, being cautious with the information you publish about yourself is the right move.
"The web is too good a place to develop an audience and strut your stuff for me to ever recommend that. But you should strive to have an academic/professional presence. Your personal presence should be fairly limited - my cat, my wife and my friends. I'd leave your sex life, drug and alcohol consumption out of it."
Keeping your personal and professional lives separate seem to be the theme in what he is saying, something I can completely agree with. While I have my boss on Facebook, I would feel uncomfortable if my previous boss added me as a friend. It rolls in with the "big brother" state we live in, except a little closer to home when you could be one drunken status message away from losing your job.
The all-knower of social media, Jennifer Leggio, gave me something to think about when I asked her about what we publish, and the power it has over students and upcoming professionals:
"Students and professionals online should adhere to the words of my wise grandmother - "don't write anything down that you don't want the world to see." This essentially translates to, "if you don't want a future potential employer to see your content, don't put it online; especially with as unforgiving as Google is in terms of it caching everything."
My sister should take note of this next bit, with her recent boom in how she uses social networking:
"A student may have spent a few years being debaucherous and cataloging their lives in pictures might grow up and regret such cavalier behavior. They can pay a price for a service like ReputationDefender, which will go through and work with sites to remove your content, but is it really worth it? If you wouldn't show your mother, don't put it online."
Social 2.0 is ever increasing in power in the knock-on effect it has on our everyday lives. Do you think twice about the things you put on Facebook, or do you shoot yourself in the foot every time you update Twitter? Let me know and leave a comment.