Taking care with your digital footprint

Ahhhh…the trials and tribulations of life on the Internet!

A while back, I wrote an article about learning lessons from mistakes.  I have another one to add to that list that I recently learned with the help of a peer who had my best interests at stake.

Building a presence on the Internet has become another facet of networking and even preparation for interviewing. It’s important  to distinguish yourself from the masses and there are many ways to do so. Twitter and Facebook provide great ways to social network. Blogging let’s people know that you have no clue or somewhat of one about whatever it is that you are talking about. Writing articles expands that horizon.  There are numerous others that are worthy of mention, but that’s not really the focus here.

I wanted relate an incident that I learned from. I recently received an email that listed something like the 10 dumbest things…blah, blah, blah and it was supposedly based on real life things that have occurred. We’ve all seen these email trails come through. Some idiots have even forwarded them on to the rest of the universe while sharing what appears to be great humor. I would be one of these idiots.

It turns out that my guardian angel actually knew the truth to some of the content in this email and picked up the phone to counsel me about thinking before acting. He cited the term Verisimilitude, which I can barely even pronounce.

ver·i·si·mil·i·tude

/ˌvɛrəsɪˈmɪlɪˌtud, -ˌtyud/ [ver-uh-si-mil-i-tood, -tyood]

–noun

1. the appearance or semblance of truth; likelihood; probability: The play lacked verisimilitude.
2. something, as an assertion, having merely the appearance of truth.

First, that is a new word to me, so before I could even understand what he was getting at, I had to look this one up. I wish I hadn’t.

Second, here comes the lesson….

What appears to be true is often not. As a thinking person, at least I think that I’m a thinking person, I should have taken the time to verify the truth. I base my professional and digital reputation on analyzing and determining what is said or written is actually accurate.  Of course, that occurs in my job, but I have neglected my duties to do so outside of work.  I have learned, and would like to share with you, that I have a responsibility to myself to not just share raw information, but to take the time to ensure it’s accurate. It speaks to who I am as an analyst that I should be doing this and it takes only small mistakes like this event to tarnish the image that I wish to convey.

Finally, my friend counseled me on not even bringing this up publicly, for those who seek to find fault will do so and will see me as someone who doesn’t think like an analyst should. This advice I did not take, though. Why? Because I also believe that we are all faulty in some regard and only those that embrace these faults can improve upon them to be better people, whether personally or professionally.

So, with a healthy dose of humility, I offer that it’s important to remember that we live in a world that takes small and immediate impressions from the glimpses the we offer it about who we are.  Food for thought.

Eat up.

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