Technology is a beautiful thing. The more you use it however, the bigger the electronic footprint you will leave. Have you ever Googled yourself? It's amazing what you will find. I once found a picture of me in Junior High School, and it wasn't an official yearbook one either – why oh why did I roll my pant cuffs like that?
Some people still don't realize that when you put something on the internet, it's out there forever. Almost all of us will never see it, but it's there. These words I type will exist on some server forever, or at least until the internet crashes or is purged.
Think about your business communications. All of your emails are still out there. Anything you ever loaded onto your website or files you've sent are saved somewhere. Hopefully there is nothing you would take back.
Now think about your personal communications. Yes, they are personal, but we all know how much personal can affect business. Don't limit your thinking to emails, social networking has become huge and it's all public. You should know that anything you put out there has the possibility to be found and used against you -- even your anonymous profile on MySpace.
Peter Shankman recently blogged about such a social networking incident involving a man who wasn't careful about communication. The man in question wrote a post on Twitter when he arrived in a town for a business presentation. The post was a relatively minor bash on the town itself, but he didn't know that several employees of the company he was to present at received regular updates on his posts through Twitter.
This might not have been a big deal, but the town was Memphis, the employees were die-hard home-town folk, they worked at FedEx headquarters, and the man was doing a presentation there on employee communication.
When it comes to communication, for business or personal, write and speak as if the whole world is paying attention. If you don't, the whole world might, but you won't like it.
Posted by George Page, Communication Specialist