Privacy – the  holy grail of our 21st century, global community – is a thing of the past.  These days, it not about how many friends you have on Facebook or how many followers

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you have on Twitter – it’s about all of the people you do not know that have access to your information!

“If you are not one of those people who read the fine print when agreeing to terms of service contracts, you should be aware that what you post publicly could come back in the future to haunt you privately and professionally.” (Husna Najand )
This is the umbrella of fear we all live under nowadays.  As much fun as it seems at the time, the “candid camera” moments are no longer just between intimate friends. The “shout-outs” with adult content/language is no longer a private conversation in most cases. So, this begs the question about how much privacy can or should we expect when riding the web and posting our personals?  As posited by Najand’s article, if we don’t read and understand usage policies, the answer to this question is simple – we can expect no privacy whatsoever.  When utilizing “free” social networks, most of us forget the old adage, “You don’t get something for nothing.”  Well, this is even more true in today’s online communities – the right or the access to social networks comes with an enormous amount of responsibility.  Like most things in life, individuals must make informed decisions in order to protect themselves from themselves.  When discussing social networks with my students, I always pose this question, “Would you be embarrassed if your grandparents read or saw what you posted online?” As a general rule of thumb, if the answer is “yes” then the item(s) should NOT be posted.  Ironically, this same advice is generally never followed by many of my colleagues. Why is that?  Are they truly naive enough to think that students, parents and administrators will not simply “Google” them to see what’s out there?  Unfortunately, the answer to this question is a resounding, “YES!”  Moreover, as we, international teachers, become more reliant on digital access to our families, friends and financial institutions, we seldom think twice before providing “private” information that anyone can access.
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Our “Digital Dossier” is the new addendum to our resumes and profiles that the general public can retrieve with the press of a button.