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What happens when your digital identity begins to merge with your real-world identity?

Over the past few years the internet has become part of our daily life and it has forever changed the world in both positive and negative ways. We often assume that we're being anonymous as we go about our business online. As a result, we’re treating the Net not just as a library, a shopping mall, or just a simple social network but as a personal diary and, sometimes, a confessional. Social-networking services have grown in popularity and people are giving out more details about their lives to sites like Facebook and Twitter not knowing that all this detailed data is being saved and tracked with out our approval. The Internet is a place where everything is archived and often publicly available. Whether we realize it or not, with each post we are providing social sites with valuable data about who we are and what we believe. We might not see it immediately but a mistake made during a person’s teenage years could permanently affect his or her online records for the rest of their lives, regardless of how much time has past. Lately we’ve all heard stories of employers screening job applicants via Google, Facebook and tweeter. Would it be unfair of them to judge you by your past mistakes, exposed by a social network that remembers everything you’ve ever done? I think so. The whole issue with transparency is that through the sites we visit and the searches we make, we give details not only about our families, hobbies, jobs, and health, but also about our secrets and fantasies; what we don’t realize that this can be used against us and ruin our future. We need to keep in mind that we can’t be so transparent as we go about our business online. Now that our actions on the web are more public and our identities (both on and offline) continue to merge into one, we need to make sure we manage the personal information we publish going forward, so that we can control...
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