Online Footprints & How to Strengthen Them

 

It's important to get some background understanding on internet culture and social media. Before delving into the tips on strengthening your online footprint, let's think about some things.

Firstly, why do you post?

  • Show our personalities
  • Belong to a community
  • Share information
  • Flirt
  • Adrenaline rush
  • Get attention
  • Feel good about ourselves
  • Curate things we like
  • Communicate with others
  • Emotional outlet
  • Attempts to reach others
  • Bored
  • Trolling
  • Creative outlet

Anything else?

Google yourself and see what comes up. Do you like what message and images show up?

  • Would that dream job hire you?
  • Will you be able to keep that scholarship or stay in school for behaving like this?
  • Will that relationship or person you''re interested in want to be with you after seeing this?

The concept of FOREVERISM: What is it?

According to Internet Society (2016) there are over 200 third-party advertisers and 630 tracking technologies collecting our data. Even if we do not give permission to these organizations and technologies to gather and use our data, they do. Each site we visit has potential to reach someone else when they look us up. The problem that arises with this is we are not always able to defend ourselves with what people find. Assumptions about our character can be made, which can affect how others see us.

These assumptions can be negative and affect how you may be hired or contacted for potential work or opportunities. The websites we visit, research, places we comment or like, images we post or hashtags we use, can all be tracked and come back to us in misinterpretations. It's important to think about the possibilities for people to screenshot our conversations, comments, and exchanges online.

The internet is forever. 

Do images and verbiage that you delete really go away? Junk Mail: where does it come from? Digital Marketing: Each time you buy something or research products on any website...other marketing pop ups occur. (Isn't that creepy?!) Google, apps, Echo Home, Alexa: are you listening? To everything? 

In addition to unknown parties tracking your personal data, people you know, "friends" or "followers", have access to your posts, comments, and photos online. This is especially important for young adults, teens, and children. SEXTING is part of youth online culture, however, it is a very dangerous behavior for the following reasons:

  • Depending on your state, possessing and distributing nude photos of those under 18 can be considered possessing and distributing pornography 
  • You may have to register as a sex offender
  • You may have to enroll in sex offender classes 
  • Citizen's Guide to Child Pornography
  • In California, you may be fined up to $2500 for possession, and $2000 and/or 1 year of jail for distribution (California Child Pornography Law)

What else can be affected by inappropriate photos, posts, comments, or online bullying?

  • You can ruin or muddy your reputation.
  • People might not want to hire you because they think you're not professional or a good fit for the company.
  • You can get fired.
  • Your nudes can leak and it can be embarrassing for a long time.
  • Your angry or emotional posts or comments can be screenshotted and shared.
  • You can become a meme which can lead to out of control jokes or harassment.
  • You can get kicked out of school or lose scholarship opportunities for posting inappropriate things. 
  • People can take parts of your video and skew the truth. When it becomes viral, it will be difficult for you to defend yourself or share the truth.
  • It may ruin current and future relationships if certain parts of your life are displayed and people don't have context. 
Let me say it again: The internet is forever. 

10 Ways to Strengthen Your Online Footprint+

These tips can be useful for people of all ages, but I had young people in mind. There may be feelings or thoughts of invincibility and that our actions now don't have consequences, but they can and do. Please be mindful of your interactions online, especially if you want to have a career in certain industries when you're older. 

The difficult thing about being young and starting in the industry is thinking about how our actions will affect relationships with companies and colleagues in the future. The internet is forever. The things we post are forever. Take some time to figure out how you want to be seen by others, and how you want to be remembered.

1. Choose your words wisely

Even if you delete that angry tweet, snap, or comment, someone may have screenshotted it. Screenshots can be on the internet forever.

2. Stick with the facts

When we reply to others with strong opinions and accusations, it can lead to arguments where you or others attempt to damage one another’s reputations. Some people online go out of their way to message employers about unfavorable exchanges. This can risk your work as well as future prospects.

3. Be careful sharing images

Selfies are important. They are a part of the culture as well as a form of creativity and self expression. Companies have a brand to uphold. If and when your selfies don’t reflect the company culture, you may get fired or lose opportunities. Nudes, drunk outings, and reckless photos are inappropriate and difficult to undo.

4. Keep the politics out of your posts

Having our own personal beliefs and political views are important. It is a part of who you are. Some companies and potential referrals tend to stay neutral. To collaborate with these organizations and people, making sure your political posts are private can help. It can even be recommended to remove all politics from your posting.

5. Be professional

  1. Stay away from slander or gossip. Even if it’s true, these behaviors are paired with how people first see you. Again, a company prefers to hire someone who promotes community, not gossip.

  2. Sick days: If you are sick, posting images of your vacation sends a message that you are not reliable, and lack integrity. Be mindful of how you’re using your time away from school or work!

6. Instagram can ruin your reputation

Companies, recruiters, and referrals can search your likes, comments, and Instagram history to get a feel for your personality. If they find unfavorable posts or images, even from years ago, it can cost you a dream job.

7. Look back on past history

Go back through your old posts, likes, and images. Delete what you don’t want to be known for in the professional world. It can be tiresome and repetitive to do this, but think about your future and the work you’ve put in to your career. It is worth curating your old posts to be successful, and to be seen as a competent professional. If you get sentimental about older posts and images, save them on your computer.

8. Tag you’re it!!!! Don’t be tagged!

Untag yourself from posts that could be misinterpreted by companies. It’s more difficult now since technology can automatically tag your face in images online, so take time to ask friends not to post inappropriate images of you in the first place. It’s okay to ask them not to tag you in certain types of posts as well.

9.  If you’re not sure what to delete…

Look at social media of people you admire, as well as peers who are successful in the industry. See how they present themselves and think of how you can do the same.

10. Shut down all of your social media and start new!

If your history is too much to sort through, you have the luxury of time to delete your accounts now and start over. It can be a fresh start to figure out how you want to present yourself online and to the world. Your past will not define you or your future success.

Additional Tips on Social Media

  • Say NO to drunk posting.
    • Have a friend hold your phone or plan ahead.
  • Take a deep breath, count down 5 seconds before pressing send.
  • Just like IRL arguments, pause before posting or commenting. We say things we can’t take back when we’re emotional
  • Apologize for making mistakes, and move on.
  • Sometimes it’s easier to start with nothing than to filter through years of content. Starting over now will save you from losing that dream job because of an Instagram post.
  • Think about what you want to stand for as a professional and a brand NOW.
    • Which five words does your social media convey?
    • If these words don’t match your desired brand message, change something.
  • If you are unsure of posting something, ask a trusted friend to look it over. If you need to vent, call someone so it’s not permanently online.
 

Pokémon Go - Safety Tips and General Playing

Pokemon Go is a free augmented reality (AR) mobile game released this week. It is currently in beta version, so there are kinks to work out. The data generated by users will definitely help developers guide the evolution of this game. There are plenty of sites devoted to the ins and outs of playing, so the focus of this writing is safety and general observations related to playing pokemon go.

Be Mindful of Your Surroundings.

When you open the game, this is your first message. From playing and watching others, here are some things to consider:

pokemon-go-safety

Stopping While Walking

In public, and crowded spaces, stopping unexpectedly can make people bump into each other. It may not be a big deal to some, but it might upset others and cause trouble.

Objects, and Tripping

Watch where you’re walking. Some gamers walked into walls, each other, or missed a step on a flight of stairs while walking. Two players have already walked off cliffs catching Pokemon. Please be mindful of where you are walking. 

Crowding in Areas

This might also lead to pushing. This game is meant to be fun, and some gamers are more serious than others when it comes to catching pokemon.

300 Yard Radius

When you’re tracking a pokemon, you may potentially wander from your group. Let friends know before wandering off, and identify a meet up spot when you do get split up.

 Private Property

Sometimes there will be pokemon in areas you cannot reach. Please think about boundaries and respecting the space of others.

Respecting Small, Quiet Communities

There are already locations being swamped by players hoping to catch rare Pokemon. This is changing and disturbing the quality of life for those who moved away from the big city for a quieter life. Please find another location to hunt Pokemon, and petition to have pokestops and gyms in areas that can handle larger numbers of people. 

Trash and the Environment

The sudden influx of people into many cities will lead to noise pollution and trash. It will happen. Please represent the gamer community well by doing your part to clean up after yourself, and leaving a space the way you found it, or even better. 

Pokemon in the Street

This is a beta version, so there are kinks to work out. I’ve seen pokemon in the street, and people walking into traffic to get their pokemon. Wait. It’s not worth getting hurt, or hurting others. 

 Driving While Playing

Please do NOT do this. People have a hard enough time driving without checking their texts. This is a potentially huge safety concern, and it can lead to more accidents and untimely deaths. (This is not the same as having a passenger play while you drive.) A player crashed his car trying to catch a Pokemon while driving. DON'T DRIVE & PLAY

 Well-known Public Spaces

pokemon-go-irvine

Malls, downtown areas, and universities are busy areas that tend to have lots of pokestops and gyms. Walking in the middle-of-nowhere can be a safety concern, and it may not be as fun as meeting other players in public spaces. 

 Working and Playing

It depends on how flexible one’s work environment is, but losing a job over catching a pokemon, or accidentally taking a photo of confidential information is a huge risk. Pokemon GO player almost loses job

The Camera When Snapping Photos 

Some people may not want their photos taken and plastered on the internet with pokemon on them. Be mindful of offering this respect.

Children & Searching for Pokemon 

It can be easy for enthusiastic younger pokemon trainers to run off when they’re tracking. It can also be easy to talk to younger gamers because of this connection. It will be important for parents and community members to talk to, and keep an eye out for the safety of little ones.

This meme is a joke, but it raises a very real concern about the safety of children when playing. 

This meme is a joke, but it raises a very real concern about the safety of children when playing. 

Safety & General Playing:

  • Wear comfortable shoes, socks, and clothes. You will be traveling for a while. Your body may be sore from this new level of activity.
  • Rest often, and drink water. Lots of us get carried away when gaming. There have been stories when gamers exhausted themselves to death, or they got really ill from playing too much without self care. Drink water, take breaks. The pokemon will be there another time. Your health and wellness is important.
  • Bring a charger, and map out rest stops. Some places will have outlets and quiet spaces for you to rest in between catching pokemon or battling in gyms. As any athlete will tell you, rest and nutrition are as important as training. Familiarize yourself with each area you travel to, and note resting places.
  • Safety in numbers: It’s safer with a group. Keep an eye out for each other, and have meeting spots and times if and when the group gets separated.
courtesy of legit lady gamers community united fb group <3 

courtesy of legit lady gamers community united fb group <3 

  • Scout your area before settling down to explore. Drive around, check with other players, or walk around before playing. Look for the pokestops and see if there are people lurking nearby. Trust your gut, and walk away if things don't feel right. 
  •  Sportsmanship: This is a game. Some of us may take this game more seriously or personally than others. Please consider how others may feel when they lose or do not catch a really rare pokemon when you do.
  • Turning off AR: This may help with extending the life of your battery.
  • Check your data usage before, during, and after playing. This will help see if you will overuse data. 
  • Look for public spaces with free WiFi. Malls might have free WiFi while you play.
  • Battery-saving mode: Turn your phone upside down for this feature to work. It will dim your screen while in this position.
  • Share the love: This is a game for people of all ages; new pokemon players, and well as those who’ve grown up with the cards, cartoons, and games. Encourage each other, and share the joys of success. This world has enough negativity in it. This game can bring people together (even when we’re on different teams).
pokemon-go-list

So far, it seems these are the classifications of pokemon from how common to rare they are to find. Have fun catching all those Rattatas and Pidgeys! :P Some Pokemon GO Gameplay Tips | BuzzFeed