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Time for a name change?

Time for a name change?

How many of your secrets are available on Google? Its CEO has said that one day, some of us may have to change our names to escape our digital past.


August 23, 2010 4:14 by

When Kipp was a youngster, name changes were for super-suave secret agents or witness protection. Not any more, apparently. Last week the boss of Google, CEO Eric Schmidt, caused shockwaves when he suggested that young people today could have to change their names in the future to escape all their indiscretions over the internet.

“I don’t believe society understands what happens when everything is available, knowable and recorded by everyone all the time… I mean we really have to think about these things as a society,” he said. At the moment he said of Google, “we know roughly who you are, roughly what you care about, roughly who your friends are.”

A social media consultant, Suw Charman-Anderson, told the BBC, “There’s always a lag between the introduction of new technology and the development of a set of social norms around the behaviour that the technology encourages.” Though she did add that she believes, “As a society, we are just going have to become a bit more forgiving of the follies of youth.”

Schmidt’s comments exposed the dark side of social networking, according to a follow-up Reuters article. “Social networking has forced us to more closely examine and redefine the concepts of privacy and identity,” it said. Social networks such as Facebook provide “a very powerful tool for embarrassing yourself or ruining your reputation on a global and virtually eternal scale. Once you put it online, it is shared around the world in seconds, and can still be recalled after decades,” said the article by Tony Bradley at PC World.

Bradley goes on to point out that potential employers are likely to want to vet your social networking accounts to get a clear picture of your online persona. And, more worryingly for today’s professional, “There is a long and growing list of stories of people losing their job as a result of Facebook status updates or Twitter tweets.”

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1 Comment

  1. Andrew on August 25, 2010 7:39 am

    Slim Shady?


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