Social Media: Wildman656 vs. Johnkoht
I remember when AOL 95 came out, I was all over that. I was dominating and exploiting AOL's security holes as alias "wildman656" (btw, wildman because i was quite wild back then, a 12 back of coca-cola and some cookies and i was off the walls). But as social media has taken over our lives we are moving away from the anonymity of the web and into the personal brand.
When the web first came out it was a place to share your thoughts, your honest thoughts! I mean really honest, like if the people or places you were taking about knew it was you they were going to break your legs (or yell at you). You could make a blog and share your thoughts. Not to say you can't do this anymore, but now a days it's about actually being you. We are branding ourselves as ourselves via the social media channels, Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Vimeo, YouTube, etc, etc. We are making usernames as ourselves, not aliases (email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org).
With this comes consequences, now we have to watch what we say and do on the internet. Years ago you could start a blog or website based against something, or that spoke of something "sensitive". Now we have to watch our mouths. People are not getting jobs because of Facebook and even getting arrested because of Facebook Poke. What you say on the web now can haunt you forever.
I've been on Facebook for a few years now, and on Twitter and other social media channels for quite some time now. I see what some people say and you wonder if this is going to haunt them. It's not just your career that can be affected anymore, it's your personal life. Example, let's say you blog or tweet about something that MOST people disagree with, this can cause a fiasco of blog posts, comments, facebook posts, tweets and sometimes a facebook group directly opposed to you. So now you've pissed people off, and when somebody Google's your name, they find all this opposition and anger towards you...essentially, Google has defined you as "bad".
I once heard this quote, don't remember it exactly, but went something like this: "Your blog is your portfolio and Google is your resume." At first I wasn't so effected by this. No, it actually wasn't until later that I realized that Google, in a sense, is your resume on life. Google yourself, what do you find?
The social world is changing, we can't start anti-something websites and blogs and attach our names to it. We can't tweet about some of our honest opinions about things because it could get us into trouble. I'm not saying that you can't tweet about your bad experience at the local restaurant, but there are things nowadays that are somewhat sensitive, or may have consequences. We have to watch what we say and do. We have to make sure we don't piss people off because you don't know if they are going to blog about you. The future of "gossip" and "personality" can be found on the web. When a group of people dislike somebody, they might make a facebook group or tweet about it, and consequently, this topic becomes Googlable.
Likewise, we want to portray a positive attitude on the web, we want to be regarded as intellectuals, skilled, knowledable. But as I see people posting ridiculous, future impacting, posts and tweets, I realize how important personal brand is. 10 years ago your reputation was a word of mouth, and now it's visible, detailed and imprinted all over the web. We can't just make believe like us again, especially since we've already upset hundreds of people that don't even know us, simply because they read a blog post, tweet or facebook status.
Hope the world has good things to say about you!