By Dr. Laura Palmer Noone, CEO of University of the Potomac

As a parent of teenagers, I am always reminding them to be careful about what information they transmit by Facebook, Twitter or by text.  What seems like the appropriate retort to a perceived slight will probably not be the sort of thing you want to show up on a background check at some point in the future. As soon as the send button is hit, it is out there and mostly likely out there FOREVER.

Perhaps even more importantly I try to stress that my children should conduct themselves at ALL times as if I was standing there watching and listening to them.  Because even though I might not be present, technology probably is.

Yet it seems that teenagers aren’t the only ones who forget that valuable lesson.  The news has been riddled with stories of great careers ruined by text messages and photos posted, often without the consent or even knowledge of the person subject of the photo.  (Anyone remember Prince William at the Olympics party?) There is really very limited privacy in the age of electronics.  There will most always likely be a camera aimed at whatever you are doing, so don’t do it unless you are ready to have it become an overnight sensation on YouTube.

Job seekers in particular should be aware of what is pasted on their Facebook page as well as those pictures that have been “tagged” as them.  Prospective employers would be foolish not to check for signs of less than mature conduct or for a general lack of good judgment.  If you put the picture of chugging beer at a frat party, take it down.  If your friend did, get them to take it down.  No, it won’t be gone forever (it appears that the Internet has a memory longer than any elephant) but at least it shows you have the good sense now not to advertise your prior lapses in judgment.

For those of you readers that remember the book 1984, perhaps that Orwellian prediction has come to pass.  Either way, watch your cyber persona/reputation and guard it carefully.

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