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MySpace blunder costs intern a job

Some young people treat their MySpace pages like a secret diary... they are more like a tattoo.

What did I say about Managing your personal online reputation will be a core life skill?

The story of one of the first guile-less victims of the MySpace generation's online is recounted in the New York Times.

When a small consulting company in Chicago was looking to hire a summer intern this month, the company's president went online to check on a promising candidate who had just graduated from the University of Illinois.

At Facebook, a popular social networking site, the executive found the candidate's Web page with this description of his interests: "smokin' blunts" (cigars hollowed out and stuffed with marijuana), shooting people and obsessive sex, all described in vivid slang.

It did not matter that the student was clearly posturing. He was done.

"A lot of it makes me think, what kind of judgment does this person have?" said the company's president, Brad Karsh. "Why are you allowing this to be viewed publicly, effectively, or semipublicly?"

Some young people treat their MySpace pages like a playground and a secret diary. But thanks to the all-seeing eyes of the search engines they are more like a tattoo, an indelible, or at least heard to erase statement about your identity that is very, very public indeed.

"I think students have the view that Facebook is their space and that the adult world doesn't know about it," said Mark W. Smith, assistant vice chancellor and director of the career center at Washington University in St. Louis. "But the adult world is starting to come in."

Parents and teachers need to start telling children in their care about personal reputation management now.

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Wow! Kind of frightening. Our generation is growing into the way of the blog whereas our children are faced with it straight away. The attraction of blogging to instantly publish our thoughts and ramblings is a novelty probably too strong to most adults as well as kids. But you would hope that most adults had some idea that it's a permanent record that can be searched and read by anyone. It's weird to think that we now have to train our kids earlier than we would have had to do a generation ago to be careful what and where they write.

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