Social Intelligence, a firm that provides prospective employers with dossiers of what job candidates have said and done online during the past 7 years, is a sign of the times. Their services are a natural development in the era of social networking.
Social media users often feel a misplaced trust and openness toward social media. That includes the assumption that some things they post online will remain private. But there are no guarantees. Imagine that everything ever posted on Facebook suddenly became public.
Many online communicators use anonymity as a form of privacy. One reason is to keep employers from reading the opinions they post in online forums. Another is to enable them to criticize and otherwise attack others online under the shield of anonymity. It is inevitable, though, that at some point new technology may enable many of those previously anonymous citizens to be revealed. Just as it is inevitable that the libel laws that regulate what can be said in print and on radio and television, will catch up to the internet.
Swift as the online world has been to connect the world, it is easy to overlook its pitfalls. That is why it must be carefully navigated.