The topic of privacy quite often has me laughing. People seem to be very confused about what privacy is and what they want. It seems when someone says they want more privacy they can’t really explain what level of privacy they want or even what that means.

It’s true that privacy is important to some degree but often working out what that means is difficult to work out. Anyone who is involved in the tech world knows that people in Germany are some of the most privacy conscious people in the world. In fact to a great degree you will even notice this with a lot of their online presence because although they embrace the online world they have a lot of things locked down.

Here in Australia it just seems to be a hit and miss exercise that really doesn’t achieve much and even though most people will say they want more privacy they really don’t understand what they want or how to get it. It seems also that many don’t understand the implications of what information they put out there.

Social Networking is a platform that is used by a lot of people and yet if you talk to people they really think they have their social networking accounts locked down. However if you look into it with them they soon realise how open all the information is. Partly this is due to the lack of ease in understanding security on sites such as FB, but generally it’s also the lack of awareness to the power of the Internet.

With companies now forming all over the world who do social network background checks for potential employers we are seeing the amount of information out there. If you don’t have things locked down a simple Google search can reveal a lot about you. Your presence online is now affecting your future job prospects and your future in general. You have to think about these things now and not in the future. If you are 20 now and posting online, you can’t in 5 years decide to lock it all down because the information is out there. We are hearing of cases where photo’s of you are appearing online that were taken ten years ago and affecting promotions and even relationships.

The key thing to remember is once it’s online it’s there forever. If you have photo’s of yourself drunk or acting like a fool and they are online, or have said something stupid then accept that at some time in the future it can come back to bite you.

In saying all of this, there is another side to the story. You can also use the Internet to increase your profile or make yourself more attractive to future employers or opportunities. The key now knowing that the Internet and social networking is here to stay is to think of it as a persona. You have total control of ‘who’ you are online. Use it wisely.