Compared to the average person I have a pretty heavy online presence. You can find out a lot about me just by goggling my name. After weeding through the other Laura Gardner’s in the world you can find out where I went to school, read my Master’s capstone and gaze upon many pictures of my friends and family. For the most part I want this information to be out there so future employers can learn about me but social media didn’t serve this purpose for me until recently. Pre-2008 I used Facebook, MySpace and Friendster and was really loose with my information. I posted pictures that would make employers question whether or not I still had a functioning liver and my potty mouth was in full-effect. Since then I’ve cleared out pictures on Facebook and rarely status update, deleted my MySpace and does Friendster even exist? I didn’t realize until this week that it’s not enough.
You know on LinkedIn where you can see a limited list of who’s viewed your profile? Well, recently I see that this person, who we’ll call Frank, has been creeping (yes, that’s the technical term) on my LinkedIn page. Frank isn’t really in my life anymore but as much as I hate to admit it, I still care just a little bit what he thinks of me. Interesting, I think to myself. Then, sheer panic sets in. My LinkedIn page has a link to my blog where I referenced him in a post. My blog has a link to my Twitter handle, which has a link to another Twitter handle I co-manage! What has he seen?!? I also have a flash of embarrassment every time I catch someone in my family on my Twitter page, or my aunt references something she knows about me from my Facebook status. It’s not that I’m saying anything bad per say, but it just brings to light the notion that everything is out there for people to see and when I’m writing for a certain audience, I’m not caring to think about who else will read it.
I also want to comment on Four Square. I’m not on Four Square and probably never will be. I understand the premise, but it crosses my line of privacy. I’m a creature of habit and I can just imagine checking in at a bar when I’ve told the friends I don’t want to hang out with that I’m having a quiet night at home. Not that I would ever do that (no, not me), but as someone who is trying to closely monitor their social media presence, the less the better. I’m also the type of person who gives each new platform a trial run and if it doesn’t impress me I move on, forgetting what I’ve left behind. I have multiple blogs, tumblrs, profiles, Twitter handles, and God knows what else that I’ve just forgot about. Thank God my parents weren’t feeling very imaginative in 1984 and picked the most popular name in the baby book.