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Controlling Your Online Reputation with “The Grandma Test”

January 3rd, 2014

A New York Times article addresses the challenges and difficulties of erasing and controlling your digital past. As the father of a pre-teen middle-schooler, it’s a subject that comes up more and more in our household.

One sentence stood as as a particularly good analogy to fixing online gaffes.

She compares the scar to her online reputation to a large tattoo: “Technically, it’s possible to remove it, but it’s painful and expensive. Plus, there’s no guarantee that you’ll ever remove it 100 percent.”

On almost a daily basis, our family talks about the dangers of taking or posting pictures online that may not be viewed as appropriate days, weeks and years later. I want to impress upon my daughter that the Internet has a photographic memory and a good baseline (for now anyway) seems to be asking, “Would you want grandma to see this picture or read that text?”

For now, “the grandma test” is something she understands and can relate to. In high school, that bar may be changed to “college admissions office” or “career recruitment office.”

  1. March 2nd, 2012 at 11:30 | #1

    I occasionally recruit for my company and it amazes me daily the profiles I see online with truly unprofessional crude bios or references. We are in a place today where you can not hide anything online. There really seems to be a need for an awareness compaign for today’s youth.