Saturday, April 1, 2023

Blogpost: Tweet in haste, repent forever?

By Caroline Thomas

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“Social media is a fantastic platform to engage and communicate socially and for business purposes. However, being a public domain, the way that you conduct yourselves and the things that you say and do online will live with you forever.

Digital footprints are the trails we leave behind on the digital environment. In simple terms anything that you say or do on Facebook for example will be caught up in that big World Wide Web forever! Something a young girl learnt and regretted very recently.

Paris Brown fell victim to her own misfortunes when the Daily Mail reported that Britain’s first youth commissioner had previously posted shocking comments on Twitter, when she was 15. Latching on to Tweets that contained materials of a sexual, violent and homophobic nature, the Daily Mail posted an article online asking whether the “foul mouthed twitter teen” should be placed in role such as hers. The now 17-year-old, publicly apologised stating that she was “naive and stupid” and was “just showing off”. Paris Brown has since stepped down, meaning that she has lost a great opportunity for her digital actions in the past.

Understanding and managing your digital footprints can sometimes be a problematic process, even for those of us who have been using it since its invention many moons ago. Almost everyone at some point has been guilty of sharing information, posting comments or pictures that we later regret. Just to make it even more difficult, it’s not just your own online activity that you have to worry about. With most social media platform allowing you to tag and post, what other people do also contributes to your digital footprints.

It is now common knowledge that businesses screen potential employees when recruiting for new roles. This is because they want the best. Having an insight into the way your potential employee conducts themselves using Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for example, can reveal what they get up to outside of work. Not only this but more and more companies are also using social media to aid them in terminating contracts because of the way certain employees have acted, breaching business policy.

So what can you do to manage your social media footprints?

Well firstly you would want to start by checking your trail and cleaning it up. Use search engines using your name to see what appears. Anything that maybe negative delete.

Limit your profile searchability; most social media networks have setting controls that allow you to disable the ability for anyone to publicly search for you.

Go through your privacy settings to control who and what is being posted on your network feeds, remove your post from public view and filter your friends.

Keep your profile pictures and any images that you post appropriate. Even if you change your privacy setting to just being viewable by your friends, your profile picture is still viewable.

Finally be smart and think before you post online. As we’ve discussed the internet has a very long memory, once it’s out there the last thing you want is for it to come back and haunt you when you least expect it.

Learn from Paris Brown’s mistakes, don’t let inappropriate behaviour stop you from getting that dream job. It just shows that as easy as it is to post, A split second decision can have unexpected results for you in the future.



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