Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Yes, We Can See You

I really liked Mitch Joel's blog post yesterday about the fact that you're probably online, all the time, even if you think you're not. That's a pretty scary thought to some people.

Having worked online in some capacity or another since 1997 when I put myself out there with Kibbutz Volunteer -- yes, had some anti-Jew flames (I'm not, for the record, but why should I need to mention that?) and community forum hack attempts -- I'm pretty comfortable with how I handle myself online. It's the old cliche: would I be upset if anything I've sent into cyberspace appeared on the front page of a newspaper?


Of course, there's some Facebook pictures of me dressed up as a giant ketchup bottle on Halloween, or enjoying a pint at my local with some friends giving me "rabbit ears" -- but, c'mon, if that hurts me as a person, or somehow implies that I'm not good at my job, then, well ... you're probably not the right employer or client for me. No offense. John has a personal life, and John has a professional life. Sometimes the lines blur a little, but not to the extent where it's worrying.

Obvious tip #1. Buy your own personal domain name now. Make it your central hub, personally or professionally. Take charge of yourself online. Others may be doing that, intentionally or not, so balance that out and let people understand that you know we can see you. Here you are. Represent yourself, your work, your interests and life (if that suits you).

Obvious tip #2. Realize that what you do online, those forums you flame people in, those e-mails that you send, those tweets that you submit, those photos you upload to Facebook, those dodgy sites that you frequent ... all those bits and bytes are travelling through someone's server. You are being tracked. Your IP address is stored somewhere. There is a permanent record of your online presence. So, make it count -- don't lie awake at night wishing you'd never clicked that publish button.

As I keep banging on, Web Who.0 began a couple of years ago. People are the killer app now. You're the content. Make it count.

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