Welcome to the home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Variance and general internet tinkerer. Most of my writing these days is happening over at Why is this interesting?, a daily email full of interesting stuff. This site has been around since 2004. Feel free to get in touch. Good places to get started are my Framework of the Day posts or my favorite books and podcasts. Get in touch.

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The Danger of Exposing Yourself

You ever think about what’s going to happen in 5-10 years when the internet generation starts looking for jobs? All these kids who are posting the intimate parts of their lives on Myspace and the such will be left completely exposed. Every potential employer will have full access to the graphic details of their lives.

It scares me more than a little bit that kids growing up today don’t seem to understand the permanence of their online identities.

But lately I’ve been thinking maybe it’s not the end of the world. The way I see it, in 5-10 years employers are going to have two options: Either judge a candidate by their past and don’t hire them or don’t. Now if enough of the candidates have chronicled their lives in all its excess glory, then it seems to me there won’t be that many options. Employers are going to have to allow the past to be the past and hire some people who have documented some things that might not be entirely professional. I just don’t see how else it can work.

What’s more, I can’t help but wonder if I’m just being old-fashioned. A friend of mine reminded me the other day that many of the things we now accept at face value were not considered ‘normal’ in the not-so-distant past.

In fact, a lot of those things are still not widely accepted today. People are still being punished for choosing to have sex with those of the same gender and there still seem to be Americans who believe Black people don’t have the right to vote.

In the world I live in, neither being gay nor being Black means you should be treated any differently, but that is clearly not an absolute truth.

So I can’t help but think that maybe I’m just being old-fashioned thinking that kids exposing themselves online is dangerous. It’s possible that what’s actually going on is we’re actually approaching a transparent society where there are, “ubiquitous cameras, perched on every vantage point. Only here. . . These devices do not report to the secret police. Rather, each and every citizen of this metropolis can lift his or her wristwatch/TV and call up images from any camera in town.”

I’m just not sure.

September 20, 2006