While our conversation was about (and through, for that matter) Twitter, the observations a friend and I had about privacy and the Internet during an exchange yesterday could just as easily have been about any of the social networking sites, personal Websites, blogs, or the countless other ways personal information ends up on the Web.
The conclusion was as simple as it is commonly ignored or just forgotten: don’t be a knuckle-head.
You see, visit a person’s profile on Twitter and, among other things, you’ll find a comprehensive list of their updates (posts/tweets). This is assuming they haven’t deleted them, of course. From links to a great article to random bitches about politics, every tweet you’ve ever made is out there for anyone to see. And people are looking.
You might be surprised just how people can find you. Looking through the stats for this blog, I discovered someone found their way here through the following search:
The post they found was about customer service, but you never know what search engines are going to dig up once you’ve broadcast. It’s out there, is what I’m saying. The conversation I mentioned above was actually more about the potential professional impact of social networks, but if you’re an employer and thinking about an applicant I think you’d be silly not to look and see if they have a Twitter account. Or MySpace page. Or LinkedIn profile. You get the idea.
And for those in the market of finding a job, it might make sense to take a few minutes and make sure your public face is the one you actually want people to see…