Be careful what you post on the Internet, it could come back to haunt you

A recently published study by research companies Arbitron and Edison Research concluded that nearly half of all Americans have a profile on at least one social networking Web site.

The way people communicate with one another has been in a state of almost constant change since the Internet became widely used, and it continues to change.

While people, businesses and public officials move along with the changing trends in communication, it is important to make sure the convenience and novelty of social networking does not overtake the importance for personal privacy.

I use Facebook and Twitter on an almost constant basis. It is a rare occasion that my computer is not in my lap, and that tabs for those two sites are not open in my browser.

However, even I try to keep a line between my private life and what gets put on the Internet, for the sake of privacy and decency.

But an even better example of why it is important to be a discriminating social networker is the site

The idea of Formspring is that once a person sets up their profile, anybody can go and ask them anything they want, and choose whether to be anonymous.

In March, a story was circulated that the entire site was a prank and that, on April 1, the identity of everybody who asked questions anonymously would be revealed. Naturally, this would create a huge potential for embarrassment.

The story ended up to be a hoax, but activity on Formspring dropped off afterward nonetheless.

Although a hoax, this story conveys an important moral — do not put anything on the internet that you would have a problem with anybody seeing.

As the Internet and social networking becomes an even more prevalent part of modern life, it will become even more important to be mindful of how you are portrayed through these Web sites.

Take advantage of privacy functions and be mindful of what is being posted to these sites.


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