Public Domain Etiquette

The Double Check

Whenever I post anything on the Internet I do two quick double checks; is it ok for my grandmother and is it ok for my best client / boss? If the answer is yes then I post, if the answer is no I am back at my drawing board.
No matter what you think your privacy settings give you and how few people can see your profile, once you post online it is just that, online. Most of the time no-one finds what you post. There are so many people online and so many items being posted every single minute of the day that it would be impossible for everything said by everyone to be read by anyone other than the intended few.
However, once you start going for a new job, pitching for a new client or just generally stepping outside your traditional crowd then it is possible and even likely that someone will want to background check you.
One of the aspects of this kind of search is to run a media check, which looks for times you have appeared in print; you would be amazed what comes up from the deepest darkest archives and you would be even more amazed at how quickly and easily these things are found; one of the many wonders of the modern world and everyone using technology.
You have two very sensible options open to you. Sorry, that should be two options, one infinitely sensible and one that is very limiting. The limiting option is to avoid being online. I have a friend that takes that line. But with 400 million people using Facebook, 6 million using Twitter, 35 million using LinkedIn and 25 million using WordPress that is a big market to hide your light from. Particularly if you want your light to be found.
Now some of these people might have an account on all four so the total number might be nearer 400 million than 466 million but that still narrows your world considerably if you are not there amongst them.
The infinitely sensible option is to only post after running the two checks. This ensures that no matter how high your star rises and what position you go for in the future, what can and might be found about you is going to be ok.
I also make it my personal policy to find nice things to say about people or I keep quiet. It is my firm belief that everyone is doing the best they can, with what they have, from where they are. With that in mind I look for the very best in you and will only comment from that place.
As my grandmother used to say ‘manners don’t cost anything’ and isn’t it nice when someone makes a positive comment for no particular reason. I know I always love it when it happens to me Leaving you to enjoy your day and to make it happy for no reason!
This article was the basis for a chapter of our book; Clickst@rt Your Career.
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