Tag Archives: online reputation management
Today, it came to my attention that you can download a copy of all the personal information you’ve ever published on Facebook. After logging in, simply go to Account -> Account Settings -> then click on ‘learn more’ next to Download Account Information. A friend of mine was alarmed to learn that Facebook contains 4mb of information about him. Morbidly curious, I requested my download.
I was intrigued and slightly horrified to find out that I currently have 110 megabytes of personal information stored on Facebook. Granted, I’ve had Facebook since it was released to a small group of universities back in the day (when it was actually used for sharing information with classmates. Aaah, youth.) Still, that’s a whole lot of stuff out there about me, for better or for worse.
There’s something thrilling about uncovering a secret from your family’s past. Most of us would need to rifle through dusty old photo albums, listen to hours of stories or (if you’re digging really deep) pour through library archives to find the juicy details of our family history. It may take you a long time, but eventually you could find the location of the house where your great great great grandmother lived. It’s almost like finding buried treasure.
My great great great grandchildren? They’ll simply need to download my permanent Facebook file, by then a few gigabytes or so. Maybe they won’t even need to open a zip file. By then my life will be archived into a few keywords that can be easily searched and sorted. All the nuances and details of my life that have culminated to make me who I am will be washed over by the efficiency of a simple algorithm. They may know that I married Charles Atkins on November 13, 2010, but they might never know why.
All that is sad in a way, but then I started to wonder how if in any way what I say and do online could effect my children. Is it crazy to think that an opinion I express in my early 20s could come back to haunt my daughter during her presidential campaign? I certainly hope that never happens, but it isn’t outside the realm of possibility.
I don’t plan on censoring myself for the sake of my child’s future political endeavors, but it is an interesting question. How much data will be collected from online sources and stored not only about individuals, but about patterns of behavior and beliefs passed down from generation to generation? The optimist in me would like to believe we’re not headed towards such an Orwellian future.