Playing Cyber-detective!

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(This is primarily written with an Indian situation in mind)
 
Are you looking for a job? Or maybe you are looking to get married?
 
Also, are you on Facebook, Orkut or any of those social networking sites? Are you in the habit of posting fiery comments revealing your strong opinions or maybe declare your lean towards whatever form of current politics, on the various websites, all under your name? Or do you write frank and explicit blogs like a certain ‘Compulsive Blogger’ about your very active social life?  Do you post your movements on your Wall? ( the Facebook type)
 
Shhhhhhhhhh…be careful and clean up your act…fast!!!
 
I only meant to say clean up your profile on say, FB! Have you been saying things like ‘I would like to try anything once and that includes drugs and sadism’ in the About Me part of your profile? Beware! This may create ambiguous impressions on the mind of another person who is in an inquiry mode. You could really be taken seriously.
 
Yeah and that picture on Facebook where you were caught unaware by a flashlight but decide to oblige after all, in not so great a situation or place?
 
Hey, someone is watching!
 
Not just a ‘someone’, it could be even your Boss-in-waiting!
 
The newspapers say that using the web to trace the ‘hidden’ personalities of prospective spouses or employees is on the rise. In some parts of the globe where arranged marriages are still the norm, there have been weddings called off merely because the guy’s family found the girl was too modern for their tastes from her social networking profile and they had a strong feeling that she wouldn’t fit in. Or that she had put up pics in an ultra modern dress or with showed up in snaps with ‘other boys’ or had not thought anything about even partying with a glass in hand.
 
On the other hand, a boy’s casual comments on homosexuality, pornography and drug usage, have been traced to unsavory ‘habits’ not fitting for a family ‘of our standing’.
 
Jobs galore have been lost because a prospective employee put up a CV with one profile and showed that he had an entirely different personality unsuitable to the job in the picture as per his web behavior.
 
All these mentioned are not solitary incidents either; marriage consultants have confirmed the fact that parents often initiate a marriage enquiry by ‘asking’ their child to check out the prospect on Facebook. Quite possibly, the ‘common friends’ category can lead you to a more detailed profile check on the person. That the employers have been double checking about their ‘manpower’ is not at all a secret. Your present employer is probably spying on you this moment! Career consultants point out repeatedly that your profile on the web needs to be carefully cultivated.
 
On the other hand, there are several people who breathe a sigh of relief at the window offered by these websites. It is now possible to dig out things which would have been hidden otherwise about a person and spoilt a marriage altogether. So it’s not all about losing situations. The networking websites do come to our help too on occasions.
 
When social networking websites first came into vogue, it also became a space for ‘revealing all’. The amount of information that some people post about themselves was really surprising. Many users post very personal data about themselves including likes, dislikes, habits, and behavioral traits. The photo albums posted on the web are often personal sagas of how the person spent a weekend, who all they vibe with and what makes him tick. The rise in crime rates in connection with access to such data revealed in public have made people cautious certainly in recent times, but the very young and those who give little thought to the repercussions of what can be done to a photo posted on public domain, still continue to play with fire.
 
The employers checking the profile is now accepted as a done thing, but the prospective MIL or spouse? You have a real problem here.
 
So unless you really want to fend off a match, remember, the web is your personal CV and be careful how you set it up.


Suneetha is a writer by passion, profession and hobby. She writes fiction in English, poetry in her native tongue Malayalam and journalistic features in both. She can be contacted at yashovathi@gmail.com

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