Online Personal Branding: You in a Crowded Online World
Caught an interesting presentation today by Gary Kovacs, CEO of Mozilla, the developers of Firefox, on “How to Stand out in the Noise of the Internet”.
The focus of the presentation was personal branding. He talked about how he uses a personal dashboard to monitor the masses of internet behaviour online – and that in almost every field, a person’s “job” will change significantly every 2 – 4 years, or more often. He says it’s critical to make your mission clear and simple to the world, and find a balance between “poetry” and “pragmatics”, i.e. your values/beliefs, and the skills you get to accompany them. In other words, don’t just tell the world you’re a pf
Along with this, he could not under-emphasize the amount of information on the web that exists about almost every person. Apparently there are even GPS satellites tracking consumer locations, and telecommunications companies saving records of every text message for up to 4 years! Shocking.
I asked him a question spurred by a CBC radio panel not long ago. The panelists had said something along the lines of, “By the year 2030, there will be ZERO North Americans suitable to run for public office because of all the incriminating and embarrassing things they are posting as teens on the web today.” My question was — will there ever be a way to erase old profiles?
Gary said that there is some work being done in this area — Germany’s privacy commission is working on technology to erase public profiles, and it will take a long time, expense and a lot of legislation to work through some kind of method to do this. Facebook in particular seems to be a long way from this thinking, he said — in particular because their user agreement states that they “own” the rights to all the data that users post — pictures included.
So there you go — be careful what you post online — getting it back may be possible someday, but it could be well beyond your lifetime, or before say, you want to run for office.
P.S. And another good idea: Google yourself regularly, just to be sure of what’s out there!