Cyber Nation

By  | 

The internet has become a huge part of our lives.

"I'm buying much more merchandise online."

"Almost all of my banking online now, and I do reservations, ordering clothing, E-Bay."

Email has made communication easier and more convenient, and social media has allowed us to add a cyber profile of our personalities.

As the digital world continues to grow, so does our online presence. But what happens to this presence when the user isn't physically here anymore?

"I haven't thought about that."

The importance of protecting your digital afterlife is becoming more apparent as we move from an actual paper trail of records and assets to a digital one.

"As we have more and more digital lives, we need to decide who do we want to have access, and how do we make sure they have access?
Some families have had to sue to try to recover financial assets, Pay Pal accounts, online trading accounts, and other kinds of financial info that the person themselves knew but they didn't share it with anyone else," says Faye Jones, with the FSU College of Law.

Surviving friends and family may not have access to the digital assets of the deceased, like passwords, online accounts, and web domains.
Websites like Legacy Locker and Asset Lock have been created and act as e-undertakers, locking away information like assets, documents, legacy letters and passwords.

"I think it's something that people probably should consider I know that anything that's valuable to me I hope to transfer to my children," says Tallahassee resident Renee Goldman.

Facebook profiles have become such a big part of our personal lives that the social network decided to give options if a user passes away.



The profile will remain untouched, unless family members decide to memorialize the account, which prevents anyone from logging into it in the future, but still lets friends and family leave posts on the profile Wall in remembrance. Sensitive information like contact info and status updates are removed, and only confirmed friends can see the page.

"The people who are using the internet most for purchasing, and for social networking are generally younger, and they're not often thinking that I need a will to pass along all of this info, phones, photographs, documents, everything that I'm creating, so at the very least, people need to have someone who knows where their passwords are located."



Passwords are a sticky subject for some people who are concerned about their assets while they're still here ... and some would rather keep them where they know they're safe- in their own head.

"In some ways it has to balance out, what's simple for me to remember and what to do versus security and the chance of loss of identity or something is always a risk," says Tallahassee resident, Janet Garrett.

Protecting your digital afterlife is still a fairly new concept and many people aren't thinking much about it yet, but experts are saying that as more and more vital information is stored on the world wide web and nowhere else, many people will wish their accounts had a second set of eyes watching over.


Facebook: Why You're Not Getting the Job --

As little as 10 years ago, your job application was your word, detailing any experiences and skills that could get you that next great job.

But Facebook, Myspace,Twitter and even Google have changed all of that dramatically, giving employers another search engine to seek out what you're really like, beyond the cover letter.

"Employers are using as many tools as available to identify the best candidates, and yeah, Facebook and other tools are being used to screen candidates. They wanna know exactly who they're getting you know on their personal time, what about those pictures, what are those options, what are those risque things that potentially might impact the company's image," says Kimberly Moore, with Workforce Plus.

Tagged pictures on Facebook, Twitter posts, and status updates detailing your weekend plans are now fair game, and employers can and some *will* use them against you.

A 2009 Career Builder poll showed that 45 percent of employers use social networking sites to research candidates, and 35 percent have found information online that has kept them from hiring a candidate.

"If they see information that they don't like, they could just not hire you. There's just too many other candidates to choose from, it's a very competitive marketplace," says Natalie Kates, with the FSU Career Center.

Students and job seekers have gotten wise to the fact that their online profiles can show a side of you that you probably wouldn't expose in job interview, and many have made the necessary adjustments.

"Recently I've gone on my Facebook and kind of tried to take off a lot of things like me drinking and stuff like that," says FSU student Ashley Lee.

"I try to be conscious of what goes on there and the statuses. When I was a freshman I really didn't care, because I was a freshman and that's what freshman do, but as I'm trying to move up and graduate, jobs look at things, so you gotta prepare for the next step," adds another FSU student, Lawrence Jones.

While friends might be impressed with your keg stand skills or how fast you can down a bottle of alcohol, employers might see potential for repeat behavior at the company Christmas party, or the quality of your work suffering because of a hangover.

"It's really important that students understand what their online presence looks like, and their online image," says Dr. Jeff Garis at the FSU Career Center.

"I like the fact that they can because I think you're Facebook represents who you are outside of what you're trying to pretend to be when you're trying to get a job. It represents you as a student, as a person, and it's a neat little insight to who you are," says FSU student Jessica Garrison.

Employment experts say if you're actively looking for a job and you want to keep a social media profile, be smart about it-- consider privacy settings, take down questionable pictures, watch what you post on status updates, and pay attention to what you're friends are posting about you.

"Once you put it out there, it is out there, so the whole perception that it's not protected and that it's secure, that is not the case," adds Moore.

Job experts say you can actually turn your profile into a positive place for employers to browse by posting pictures or links showing your interest in that job, or by showing things you do other than hitting the bar.

Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station. powered by Disqus