Social Media: Online Identity & Immortality

Online Identity, Privacy, and Immortality: Your online life, permanent as a tattoo

This was the title of a short TEDTalk by Juan Enriquez. The “online life” simply was interesting enough for me to give it a go. I watched it for a few times, but after the first time, I thought to myself that it’s a must-watch for anyone who has an account on a social network, regardless of the purpose and the way he/she is using it.

Just like tattoos, what we post online can be beautiful, intriguing, allegiance, very intimate, or even a serious mistake. And again like tattoos, they are there to stay for a long long time! Probably long after our time on our blue planet.

The information, our online life provides, can be used to determine who & what we are (for any purpose), and it can be used for or against us. Now consider this amount of information (mostly publicly available), and think about it in line with accurate Face Recognition technologies available (84-94%). Other don’t even have to know us in order to look us up!

Face Recognition -> Google the name -> BoOoOoOoOoM! now some stranger knows you as good as your good friends!

This stranger can be our boss, our potential employer, an identity thief, a stalker…

That is clearly too much information! And it’s not just the amount of information that is a bit too scary, it’s also the immortality of the information, and your reputation; once you get that electronic tattoo, it’s there to stay.

The bottom line is Social Media has the potential from improving our lives to ruining our lives. We can get the best out of it just as long as we are careful about what we’re posting.


Don’t fear it, Learn it, and Think about it.

4 Comments Social Media: Online Identity & Immortality

  1. alienvoyager July 5, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    When you combine this with government spying, the trend towards lacking privacy is potentially a bit creepy. Social networks make all of the privacy settings deliberately confusing and people post damaging personal information that gets them fired or worse without even knowing about it. There are things like dirtyphonebook[dot]com that spread peoples’ personally identifying information. When you combine all of this with Google permanently caching everything and making everything easily accessible, that makes the future a bit troubling, almost like a bit of dystopian fan fiction. I think one thing you can do online to protect yourself is to avoid using Facebook and Twitter and other social sites as much as possible where the possibility exists that damaging private information can be spread. Parents should stress this to their children – Facebook isn’t just some cool hangout that Mark Zuckerberg builds for you out of the goodness of his heart. Unfortunately though, despite whatever measures you can take to reduce your privacy risk online, we can’t do much about government spying yet. That’s really troubling with long-term implications on freedom.

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