Digital Footprint

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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. :)

2 comments for “Digital Footprint

  1. Avatar of Jeff Utecht
    April 2, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    These real life examples are what people need to hear about.

    What is the time frame on an issue like this? I think we’re still trying to figure that out. We’re just getting to the point where we realize that everyone’s dirty laundry is out there…and if everyone’s dirty laundry is out there then what do we do and how long do we hold them accountable for that. A president can smoke week, we can watch speeches that he made in college, and everything he ever wrote. When we all live in public there are new rules…and we as a society are still figuring this out.

  2. Avatar of Seth Blodgett
    April 6, 2012 at 3:46 am

    Maybe we will get to the point in a digital society that so many people’s dirty laundry is out there that we will stop judging people for their past mistakes and instead get to know people for the whole person they are. Or maybe that is just wishful thinking and one mistake made years ago will now have ramifications on the rest of our lives. How many of us have upset a student in class by some mistake we made or even something we should be doing? Anyone can post something on and then there is a negative comment for all future employers to see. I am thankful that I don’t have anything negative on there, but I am sure that I have disgruntled students who could have put something up there had they known about that website and then there is nothing you can do about it. Thanks for sharing your friend’s story, Jen.

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