Recently I was updating different groups of seniors (including an elderly relative) on how information can be easily found on the Internet, say, about myself. In fact, someone did discover my online profile prior to meeting me, and I was recounting how impressed I was at this resourcefulness.
However, that provoked a very different reaction on their part. They felt I got what I deserved for putting my information online. (i.e. it was ‘bad’ for other people to know about you). I would have attributed this difference in attitude to the Generation Gap, but a few of their own contemporaries have online profiles themselves, so I’d say it’s more about differing mindsets or privacy preferences.
Going back to my story: As they were not present during my encounter with the aforementioned ‘resourceful person’, they did not know that this person had formed a positive impression of me based on the online research - at least, that was what was said!
I’m sure we all want to give a good first impression. But in today’s world, the first impression is no longer how you look - that’s the second impression. People now Google each other’s names before attending a big meeting. Depending on how open you are with sharing information, you would either want people to 1) not find anything about you, period or 2) find only good things about you.
I tend to prefer the latter option, but that’s my personal choice. I decided long ago to allow nothing online that one would be ashamed of. If one has issues with work or family, take it up personally with the people involved. It’s more constructive that way. Useful insights may be shared online (as with this post) - but in a very generic manner, to ensure that no living human beings or animals are harmed in the course of production.
Ultimately, in the grand scheme of things, whether or not we have an online profile, it is what we do in real life that matters most.