After reading the recommended articles suggested for Week 1, I find myself torn between having a digital footprint as a good thing and something that can be life-ruining as well. Perosnally, I feel I have left a pretty clean digital footprint up to this point in my life. I have even gone through the process of searching for my name numerous times, and even though there are a thousand ”Jennifer Browns” out there, we have all come up pretty clean. However, I have another side to my thinking which involves a dear friend of mine who hasn’t been so lucky. Unfortunately she continues to pay for a mistake that happened nearly 15 years ago. I won’t get into much detail regarding the mistake, but I will say it didn’t involve any jail time or for that matter the police at all. At the most, it involved seeking some counseling at the discretion of my friend.
She has gone through all the steps to get this particular piece of information off the Internet, but at best, it is now on the second page when you google her name. Even though she has a job currently, this piece of information haunts her and prevents her from seeking other employment because she is in fear of never getting hired again. Even at her current job, the issue comes up from time to time, which leads her to having to continuously defend herself and retell the story to her employer and new co-workers. I have known this person for most of my life, and to see the hurt and burden that this little piece of information has done to my friend. It saddens me deeply to where I have been willing to help her pay the thousands of dollars to get it completely removed from the Internet. However, the question she and I both have is, when will people begin to look at her for the person she has become over the last 15 years, and the wonderful things she has done for others, instead of focusing on a mistake that she regrets, and at the end, has made her who she is today?
In a nutshell, my concern is will our digital footprint become so important to employers, friends, students, etc. that one issue or mistake can lead to living a life of never getting a second chance of having a “clean” slate ?
Note: I hope this didn’t sound too much like a “on-my-soap-box” blog. If so, thanks for listening.