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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Online Identity: It's Your Choice

Well, well, well... so much for posting about this two weeks ago and so much for this series. June has come and gone way too fast. However, as promised I wanted to talk about how I believe personal Internet identity is all about choice and how Facebook is not bringing the downfall of marriages, employment, and digression. Wow, a pretty hefty task... I'm not sure I'm up to this right now.

I get really tired of people thinking that everyone else controls their online identity. They live in fear that an embarrassing picture of them is going to be posted online. I've actually heard of people who choose to withdraw from real world engagements because they fear that their actions will be broadcast online. The thought of their digital identity being tainted by someone else scares them to death.

To put it nicely these people are ignorant (wait... was that nice?).

Now before you respond by saying it's unfair that my actions in the digital sphere can affect those in reality and that I have no control over what other people post about me online let me proclaim fervently that you are in control of your image. You have two choices.

One: don't do anything you wouldn't want to be posted online. This does not mean that you do not attend social functions. It means that if you do not want people to see that embarrassing picture of you drunk at last night's party then don't get drunk at last nights party (or at least make sure no one takes a picture).

Two: Facebook has a handy button below everything tagged with you in it "Remove Tag". You can also ban certain people from tagging you in photos or outright ban everyone all at once. You can set it so only certain people can see your photos, statuses, posts, etc. Or you can even say that certain people can only see specific posts. Therefore ensuring that your grandmother won't know about anything that you won't want her knowing.

Ultimately you are in control of what information is available to you online. If you don't want it there don't allow it to be posted, or better yet, don't compromise your image by participating in activities contrary to what others think about you. It takes effort, time, and a quick click of the finger sometimes, but it is possible. 

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