Beware Your Digital Footprint

What you Post On-line Now May Come Back to Haunt You Later

Digital Footprint1

In the digital age, first and lasting impressions are often formed online.

"If I meet someone, I'll go ahead and see if I can find information about them through possibly LinkedIn, Facebook, Google," states Danielle Matrow, who uses social networking sites.

Now many people like Matrow turn to the Internet to see what they can find, both for personal and professional reasons.

"For work I was looking to network with someone, and I got a phone call and I was told to Google that person and I did. I found some very interesting, not pleasing information," according to Matrow.

But what if that negative information is about you, and what if it's out there for all to see.

The chances of that happening are becoming greater as people are sharing their private lives in a very public way.

"You'd be surprised. There's more indiscretion on-line than there is in the real life," according to Frank Ahearn, Author.

Ahearn is a former skip tracer, someone who used to track people down for a living. Now he's written a book called "How to Disappear."

"The problem with social networking is that other people are putting our information out there we have no control of, according to Ahearn.

That's exactly why Mineh Petrosian has future employers in mind when she posts on Facebook.

"I know they're allowed to look into your Facebook, so no partying pictures, nothing. You have to be conservative on Facebook too," states Mineh Petrosian, a social network user.

Steve Nick works in identity theft protection, but realizes how crucial image protection is, as a new generation comes of age in the digital age.

"There's going to be somebody that runs for president in 20 years, who's all over Facebook right now, partying hard, doing things he probably shouldn't be, and that’s going to come out in elections and what not. You have to know by the age of two if you're going to run for president these days," says Steve Nick, who uses social network sites.

If you do want something removed, Ahearn suggests contacting the website and asking them to remove it.

If it's a photo, he says to suggest it's copyright protected.

On Facebook, un-tag photos of yourself, and then create your own website.

"If you have pictures of you and your family and you want to share them, build your own website, put a lock on it, and just control who comes to see it," advises Ahearn.

Nick thinks there's no getting around it.

"It's the price you pay for the technology. If you don't want to deal with it, go live in a cave, it's really that simple," according to Nick.

As for Matrow, she's starting to think going off the grid may be a good alternative.

"I've been playing around with the idea of taking most of my things down. It's kind of nice to have that privacy, according to Matrow.

But privacy may be a thing of the past in the digital age.

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