Via the Thinkhammer blog and the I’m Not Really A Geek blog, this great little cautionary tale / wake-up call for people who don’t quite grasp that EVERYTHING they post on the internet is 100% public.

If you aren’t familiar with this story yet, let me set it up for you:

1. Dude gets job with Cisco.

2. Dude posts less than enthused opinion about the Cisco job on Twitter (actually naming Cisco as his new employer).

3. Cisco employee on Twitter spots the post and promptly responds.

4. Dude blocks his Twitter updates (hides them from public view)… but it’s too late. The damage is done, and he probably spends most of the day wondering if Cisco will now rethink its job offer.

Check this out:


And the response by the Cisco guy:


Ouch. @theconnor probably didn’t expect that, did he?

But the question is… What did he expect? That a comment posted on a public stream in the fastest growing social media “channel” on the planet, one currently used by 2,000,000 people and feeding into other services like Facebook and MySpace would go unnoticed?

Just because your boss, coworker, spouse or neighbor doesn’t know about Twitter, doesn’t read blogs and refuses to join FaceBook doesn’t mean your comments on the web won’t get back to him/her.

What you post on the internet today may not come back to haunt you tomorrow, but it definitely will someday. Everything on the web is archivable, which means it is also searchable. Comments you make today will be popping up in searches ten years from now.

What does this all mean? Simple: Everything you say/write can and will be used against you in the court of public opinion someday, somehow. Your behavior on the web can cost you a new job, a promotion, your career, your marriage, your friendships, endorsements, and even take you out of contention for college scholarships, military/law enforcement service, or public office.

So please, please, PLEASE, for your own sake THINK about what you are about to post to the web (especially blogs, social networking sites and Twitter). Before you click “send,” “publish” or “update,” assume that everyone you know will read your comment. And by everyone, I mean your boss, coworkers, parents, grandparents, exes, recruiters, future employers, and yes, even your kids (even if you don’t have any yet).

Use your brains. The internet is a very public place. More so even than the water cooler. Exercise the same common sense and decorum you would in “real life” social situations.

Have a great Thursday. 🙂

Update: Based on the comments I have received over the weekend, it seems that @theconnor may have actually been a woman, not a “dude.” That information was not available to me when I published this post.  Thanks for letting me know.

Update #2: I am not sure that this is actually written by the real @theconnor or pointed to by the real Tim Levad, but it’s a good post and a nice way to continue the conversation on this topic. Click here.