For once, a major publication says something profoundly right about the relationship between one’s online identity and one’s future prospects. In Real Time in the Wall Street Journal, Jason Fry points out the following:
- The Net has left regular people grappling with issues of privacy and public lives that only celebrities used to deal with
- Kids are much more savvy than their parents about the ways in which identity shifts depending on context
- The older generation—the “series of tubes” folks—will not be around to dictate the ways in which personal information on the web is interpreted and used, at least not forever
- In the end, it’s about making choices about how you want yourself to appear on the Web, rather than letting other people make those choices for you.
Fry is also right to point out that it’s broader than just Facebook or MySpace; it’s also blogs, Flickr, Twitter, and on and on. And the article presents a nifty example of the culture clash in action: while Fry’s article is sensitive to the finer nuances of online identity, his editors appear less so, since the caption under the embedded video trumpets “Jason Fry shows us some online examples of how personal videos could ruin your chances of landing your next job.” OMG! Better stick your head under a rock now! Teh Internets are going to get you.
Full disclosure: the scattered threads of my online identity are pretty widespread, as my FAQ page shows on its right hand side.