At first, I was a little surprised because the exchange wasn’t an interview or a Q&A. But then I realized that I was talking to a blogger, and the rules of engagement are different. In the blogosphere, pretty much everything is on the record.
Comments you make on blog posts, things you spit out on Twitter, and conversations you have at a conference all become part of the public record. It’s not very often that you hear someone say “By the way, this is off-the-blog”.
It makes for a fascinating environment because everything you say/write is public, even casual conversations over a coffee, is on the record. While most people don’t think about it, the reality is you need to be conscious and careful about what you what you/write and where you do it. Anyone with a blog is potentially a “reporter” looking for a juicy quote or tidbit they can use.
Of course, this on-the-record reality is just an offshoot of how the Web has made our lives public exhibits. Anyone doing anything on the Web has decided to some degree to give up their privacy to become part of the digital landscape.
The strange part is a lot of people don’t really get this digital deal. They don’t understand that every time you reveal something about yourself, you’re peeling back the onion in a very public way that never disappears.
In Canada, Michael Geist notes that several politicians in the current federal election have resigned due to controversial or embarrassing things said on blogs. Conservative candidate Chris Reid, for example, walked away after writing some bizarre things on his blog.
Geist puts it nicely that: “The digital generation posts everything from party photos to their thoughts on the issues of the day. This content has a “Hotel California” quality to it — you can post it anytime you like, but it never leaves.”
In a survey, CareerBuilder.com found that 20% of employees look at Facebook and MySpace when looking to hire someone, while another 9% said they will start looking at social networking profiles in the future.
Another interesting angle is how your life can become a permanent part of the Web without you even knowing it.
Ivor Tossell, a reporter with the Globe & Mail, discovered this recently when some of his songs (ostensibly written for family and friends) ended up online after his wife downloaded Last.FM. Next time you see Ivor, ask him about his album Tweet, Tweet, Mon Amour?, a fictional album listed on his Last.FM profile.