What is published on the Internet has a direct impact on the life of each user outside the network. How this virtual identity is built and the risks of not protecting it within the framework of what specialists call our “technological immortality”
By Sebastián AlonsoOctober 2, 2020 Share on FacebookShare Share on TwitterTweet Share on WhatsAppShare
Taking care of digital reputation is key in these times where almost everything happens online (Pexels)
Last year, Cody Hidalgo, a native of Michigan, was the unwanted protagonist of one of the “viral news” of 2019. The American worker was fired for sharing a meme on Facebook making fun of his salary. Earlier, Kaitlyn Wells from Texas ranted against her new daycare job hours before she started. They kicked her out the first day. Examples abound and yield an undeniable premise: online reputation has a high impact on offline life.
Reputation online #Report
Analog reputation is built on the projected image of an individual based on their actions, and the interpretation made by others. All have one, with a greater or lesser impact on public opinion according to their degree of knowledge. In the digital world the equation is similar, but with an exponential scope. One tweet, 140 characters (or 280), can have incalculable effects.
” We all have a digital reputation, even those of us who are not on the networks. The idea that it is only a problem of influencers or celebrities is installed very easily, and it is a myth to be demolished . Today they google you or look for you in the networks to make an appointment, to hire you for a job, and it is not necessary to be recognized for this to affect our lives “, explains Sebastián Bortnik, specialist in computer security.
In dialogue with Infobae , he says that the phenomenon presents “complications” that our other reputation, the one we generate outside the network and which until the previous century was the only one, does not have.
The fingerprint accompanies our life (Photo by RF._.studio in Pexels)
“Digital identity has the variables of the instantaneous impact of what others say about you and perseverance over time. On the one hand, users can comment quickly without knowing you and everything is magnified. On the other hand, what is published on the networks is easily taken out of context or misinterpreted and is amplified. Someone can think something 15 years ago and now not think about it anymore. However, a lot of will rate you for that, ”he says.
To understand the consequences, you first have to figure out how your online presence is built. Joan Cwaik, author and technology disseminator, describes: “Everything we do on the internet, consciously or unconsciously, is recorded, from conversations, 'likes', comments, a photo we upload, someone we tag, a new partner we make, a couple that we undo; and all this universe of interactions is shaping our digital reputation, which many times we do not register that it exists ”.
Despite the magnitude of the issue and its implications, the making of the personal path in the network begins long before being able to perceive it and choose what to show. The “shareting” is the anglicism that arises from the verb share (to share) and the noun parenting (upbringing or paternity) and defines the diffusion by the parents of contents inherent to the childhood and the growth of their children.
Marcela Czarny, president of the Chicos.net association, which promotes the responsible and creative use of technologies, assures: “ When children grow up they can feel uncomfortable with the posts made by their relatives when they were two or three years old. That is why the greatest work that must be done is with adults, who understand that everything they publish about their own children has to do with their identity. Your right to privacy and privacy may end up being violated. In the United States there were extreme cases: trials of parents to children by some publications ”.
In both the short and long term, the effects of online reputation persist and affect daily life. According to Cwaik, “today when a company is going to hire an employee between 28 and 35 years old, if that person from a certain social stratum does not have Facebook, it can be considered” suspicious. ” This is dictated by the forces of the corporation and the outside world, there are certain predetermined criteria. A digital reputation affects much more than the simple superficiality of social networks. Affects in terms of getting a job and social bonding ”.
For his part, Bortnik adds: “It is super common in the world of work, although it does not mean that we have to have an ethical or moral look to understand if it is right or wrong. But it's happening, we can't hide it, recruiters google you, they notice what you do. Those of us who use the networks a lot run more risks but not using them can also play against you ”.
When there is an overexposure on the web, typical of a public person, the online reputation can leave undesirable marks (Photo by cottonbro in Pexels)
The consequences of poor management of virtuality can be even more serious. In this context, the null digital presence can become a factor to be victims of a crime such as identity theft . “The combination of identity theft with a low digital reputation is very dangerous. It usually happens that even though the technical evidence shows that someone is innocent, the justice system and the expert opinions have not evolved enough. There are several situations of people who end up being accused for things they have not done, ”remarks Bortnik, who is dedicated to computer security.
The absence of activity can encourage criminals or stalkers to assume a profile with our name and photo, and carry out grooming, harassment, scams or hacks. On the other hand, when there is overexposure on the web, typical of a public person, online reputation can leave undesirable marks. To cite one case, last month the Spanish Internet Observatory released a study that reveals that King Juan Carlos I had become the digital brand with the worst reputation. The accumulation of negative news, critical tweets and requests from online firms to remove his name from public spaces were the trigger. The two extremes of an unbalanced management of the “digital self” .
So how do we face the dilemma? “Everything we leave on the internet is going to last much longer than our bodies on Earth; some philosophers or technologists dictate that we are very close to immortality in technological support. That is why the advice for any user in the digital world is to think several times before interacting. It may not have an immediate impact, but in the medium or long term, ”Cwaik underlines consulted by Infobae .
Czarny deepens the debate and its consequent challenge, promoting the need for a “critical, intelligent and responsible digital citizenship”. And he adds: “We must stimulate reflection. Think about what we are uploading, for what, for whom. Question how long it will be online, who will be able to see it, how far it can go viral, how will I see the content in a few years ”.
Chicos.net founder shares an experience of working with young people who may be traspolada the virtual experience of adults: “When they see the back of the nets are surprised at the googling your name for example, is extremely strong; or when we ask for data from their friends in networks and they realize how many people they do not know. Our motto is 'everything that is published on the internet ceases to be your property', that is why it is so important to understand how algorithms and histories work ”.
Cwaik, author of the book “7R: the seven technological revolutions that will transform our lives”, adds: “I feel that there has to be a coherence between our physical presence and our virtual identity. Evaluate the contents and values that we transmit. We are the first species of humanity to have a second identity, a new character. We have to achieve a balance between so many interactions ”.
It is known as “sharenting” to the diffusion by the parents of contents inherent to the childhood and the growth of their children. (Photo by Harrison Haines from Pexels)
Right to forget?
“There is a very concrete contrast: Should we give people the right to manage their digital reputations, or can that also lead to things that you actually did and should take over? How much does this go against freedom of expression on the internet? Does it violate the rights of other people? ”, He reflects.
Bortnik, who years ago founded the organization Argentina Cibersegura, cites a repeated occurrence that verifies some of the lags: “Many people speak to me, for example, of the Fotolog problem. They are still as a file but the provider doesn't work anymore; so there are many people who have uploaded photos that they want to download but they no longer have control.
A discussion that exceeds 280 characters
As in so many other areas, the pandemic accelerated the discussion about virtual identity. During the interview with Infobae , Czarny highlights the impact of the quarantine on hyperconnectivity and the management of content dumped on the network. It synthesizes the action as a “curatorship”, a clipping of the story that users choose to show, mainly young people.
In turn, for Cwaik, the situation demonstrated two great realities: “Firstly, inequality because one without connectivity is left out of the world and more so in this context. And then he exhibited technological evolution per se with all its nuances. We have to establish its limits, which are blurred ”.
“That is why we must make the existence of digital reputation visible and work on those values that the world demands of us, such as empathy, active listening, and being flexible. This affects from large companies to individuals ”, he highlights.
Bortnik concludes: “We are maturing as a society to be much more careful about online reputation and that it resembles what we want. Beyond the fact that it is a time of hypersensitivity, that the networks promoted polarization and it seems that we must take sides in everything, we have to work on the dynamics of digital coexistence and find a balance and a healthier use of technology ”.