1 February 2009

Multivalent conversations and online presence

I was noticing on Friday at work that many of the conversations we have hop between domains. Conversations start in an email, jump to clarifications on IM then hallway drive-bys and sometimes become ossified into an actual meeting room meeting. I'd thought about this before and wanted someway to dynamically move a conversation to your phone (IM moves to SMS) if you walk away from your desk for a few minutes. The conversation can continue, but you don't need to be in a fixed location or use a fixed medium.


This week's On The Media had a segment on how kids these days (the digital natives) manage their online presences differently. The assumption is that they have poor judgement in their division of private and public--thus the recent report that 1-in-5 teens have posted nude or semi-nude photos of themselves. The findings were, as expected, unexpected. Those who have a regular online presence have a greater sense of the inevitability of them being googled and act accordingly. The ungoogleable are anachronisms.

The primary warning of the ungoogleable towards the googleable has been that you risk not landing a job if a future employer finds anything they don't like. Though correct at face value, I've always thought it a little evil that employers' transient tastes should dictate how you present yourself in your life. If I'm a raging socialist (if) trying to get a programming job, do I really want such an employer that would not hire me if they knew that I was? Self-censorship is insidious no matter the origin. The guest on On The Media went one step in a different direction and suggested that such issues will not even be issues when online presence is common (as it is with this next generation). When everyone's online to a moreorless equal degree, discovering another's non-work persona becomes less juicy and, appropriately, less relevant.

[ posted by sstrader on 1 February 2009 at 3:23:56 PM in Internet ]