Sunday, June 01, 2008
Private Becomes Public, Once Again!
File this under "N" for: "Not Going To Happen To Me."
This seems to be happening on a regular basis now. Why aren't we learning from each other's mistakes? The SunSentinel published a report today about teachers having FaceBook profiles with not-so-pristine content. Not that this isn't valid, but still, it must be a slow news week. So, now... if students and parents haven't seen their profiles they have now, thank you. Everyone is embarrassed and jobs are in jeopardy. I do believe teachers are entitled to a private life. Unfortunately, many are not very good at keeping it private. Besides, what does private mean on the Internet, anyway?
That's why I and many in my field of work have been banging our heads against the virtual walls to bring this type of awareness to our teachers and students. What teachers refuse to understand is that the same MySpace, FaceBook, MyFace, FaceSpace, Twitter, Flitter, Flickr, or whatever newest social networking site that allows you to post your life on the web is also the site that creates your permanent record. Teachers understand this when it comes to their students but they don't quite get it when it comes to themselves.
I guess this head-in-the-sand approach is not unique to teachers, it can be any adult who is enjoying the boom of social networking. It's just that the expectations for teachers moral behavior are still so different.
But, will anyone learn?
Once the news was about to break, the public relations director of the school district notified the administrators and a few of the teachers in question pulled their profiles. And, when the story finally hit the public, I'm sure lots more pulled their profiles or cleaned them up. BUT, when will people really understand that once something is published on the Internet, it is never really gone?
Humor me and try this experiment. We'll use the ABC (TV) website.
1. First open a new browser window and go to URL: http://abc.go.com/ So you can see what the website looks like today. Here is how it looked when I grabbed this screenshot:
2. Now go to URL: http://www.archive.org
3. See where it says, “The Wayback Machine?” Type in: http://abc.go.com/
4. Click Take Me Back
Each link represents an update to the ABC website. As you click through the links, you can see how the website looked "wayback" even though the site was pulled and changed. Some of the links and images may be broken, but many are still active. This screenshot is from November 1999 when the big show of the time was The Drew Carey Show.
It's Not Too Late!
Look at all of the images of yourself on the web. This includes pictures posted of you by your friends!
Now, imagine yourself sitting in an office, having an interview. The job you are applying for is your dream job and if you get it, it would mean doing the type of work you love, maybe lots of money, nice clothes, nice people to work with and the American dream. You open your portfolio and on every page is one of those pictures of you on the web. Are you ok with that? If that would embarrass you, or jeopardize your chances of landing that job, now is the time to remove those pictures and think carefully before you not only post more, but before you allow yourself to be in circumstances in the future where pictures like those are being taken.