I learned about "Google-ing" people from my college roommate. If I had a crush on a guy or if a new professor showed up out of the blue, Ruth would immediately hop online and try to dig what she could so that we would be prepared should we ever have to strike up a conversation with this person. Not that you could blatantly use that information (that would seem scary and stalker-like), but just so you felt prepared knowing where you stood with this person as far as being intellectually or emotionally compatible. Which begs the real question, how much can you really know about someone based on their online persona?
Turns out that future employers arent above Google-ing, or other search engine-ing, their current or future employees. That picture of you sucking jello shots out of your girl friends chest during Spring Break '02, the one you posted on a Photobucket account you stopped using 4 years ago? You can rest assured that your boss has already seen it (and more likely than not shared it with someone she knows). Even if your boss/future employer has a good sense of humor or skeletons of her own, its likely that this will not reflect highly on your professionalism.
We try to take preventative measures like putting all our most tawdry and scandalous material "on private" to keep our image protected. But how well does that work? It only takes one person saving that image, uploading it, or (better yet) having a pictorial memory of the same event on their own digital camera to foil our plans. What about that diatribe you wrote on your blog four years ago and forgot about that talks about how working for "the man" is for sell outs and posers. Guess what? "The man" isnt going to take kindly to that one either. And if you created it, if its tagged, if its got your mark on it somewhere, any girl worth her Google is going to find it.
But what does this all mean? Are we forced, yet again, to bow to the system and put on the self-inflicted shackles of censorship? You may have noticed that I went through and edited some of the more recent/boring/useless posts from Terms of Indifference. I would hardly call this "bowing to the system". I think a healthy amount of self-editing could go a long way for most people online. Even if you arent trying to get some kind of web based employment, people like my college roommate and your potential real-world employer are judging you based on, not just who you are in person, but who you are in cyberspace, too. So do yourself a favor and save the body shot pics for the coffee table photo album.
Like these photos of Ikaika, for instance. Im sure they will come back to haunt him someday as people punch his name into a search engine. Let me help their efforts with this tag:
IKAIKA ARRAYAN HALF NAKED BUCKY THE BADGER (sounds provocative)