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Your Massive Internet Presence
By James E
In this age of information and online exploration, many people have a massive internet presence that they have no real understanding of. Due to this, one of the greatest perils that people will face these days is an unforeseen impact on their daily lives from something they did or posted online. To give you some perspective, there are over one-billion active users on Facebook and over 550 million active users on Twitter.
One of the main problems people face is that once something is put on the internet it can be very difficult to remove, something Beyonce found out when she tried to have her publicists remove unflattering pictures of her at the super bowl from the web. These efforts had the exact opposite effect and in fact caused the pictures to go viral.
This brings us to the interesting point of online privacy and privacy settings. Recently Facebook has been rolling out new privacy settings that can be quite complicated for the average user. I personally have my settings quite strict, with anyone I am not friends with directly being unable to view the details of my profile. Some people, however, make little or no use of the privacy settings and have their life out there for anyone to see.
One impact that can come from improper use of social networking is when employers and schools begin to check your online presence. Often, those making hiring or admissions decisions will look at a Facebook or Twitter account to see if there is any reason not to hire or admit them. Recently in fact, a public relations executive at the media company IAC, Justine Sacco, lost her job after a racist tweet.
On a similar note that is closer to home, only last year members of Ithaca High School’s own hockey team were suspended from the team after an offensive tweet regarding their coach was seen by school administrators. One of those involved even lost his captaincy of the team. I spoke with a member of the hockey team and he elaborated on what happened. (full interview in audio)
In terms of Facebook and applying to college, I spoke with a Freshman at Ithaca college about her Facebook and how she prepared it for applying to college. (full interview in audio)
In some more extreme cases, employers have required employees to give up their Facebook passwords if they wanted to continue working, or demand that prospective hires give up their passwords if they wish to be considered for a job opening. The controversial CISPA (cyber intelligence and security protection act) had a last minute amendment which would have prevented employers from doing this, however, the proposal was shot down in Congress.
With all this in mind, next time you go to post or tweet, consider what sort of an impact your words or pictures may have. This is James E. reporting from Ithaca High School.