Monday, January 28, 2008

Do you think it is easy removing your digital foot print?

On-line Social Networking was embraced with a fury by all generations (sorry Gen Y....not exclusive to just you as you may think.) You know, the place where you could talk about whatever with your friends with no parents or adults around to monitor what you say or do. Previous generations called this a telephone, today it is called MySpace, Badoo, Facebook, Friendster, etc... One of the differences between the generations was that many "experienced" Internet users may have been a bit more cautious with putting pictures of their weekend adventures up on their social webpage. Many Gen Y used their social web accounts as an open diary for pictures and information on themselves and others. This has come back to haunt many of them as they have lost control of their digital information.

Many articles have been written over the last year on how social network sites have become a problem in users lives. I need to emphasize that in most cases the social network websites themselves are not the problem but the misuse or rather lack of understanding on how to use a social network site for something other than "dishing" the person that you saw at a previous party is the problem. In other words, the user is the problem.

Perfect example - an article on BBC News...."Social Websites Prove Hard to Leave". A final year university student decided it was "time to grow up and remove any job-threatening information from the internet." He started to panic when he realized his account wasn't deleting from a popular social network website. He finally went to the extreme to contact BBC and they in tern contacted the social network company directly. His account was deleted.

My thought is. If you had to go to those extremes to delete the content....was it maybe a bit too personal or extreme to be put up on a public worldwide venue to begin with?

School Chat.....
With students returning to school (in the Southern Hemisphere) the beginning of February....teachers this is a good time to discuss exactly what a personal digital foot print is? What are the pros and cons of having your image/name/information out in the worldwide domain?

Many university campuses are now posting information for students on how to protect themselves from on-line social networking, such as Arizona State University.

Creating on-line social networks is a skill that needs to be fostered and encouraged in a positive, engaging and safe environment for the 21st century learner. Whether for personal or business use, it is something that is already used daily and is an essential skill in a digital global economy.

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