The Not-So-Anonymous InternetMonday, August 01, 2011
Rule of thumb: if you post something online, assume anyone can find and read it. Your boss, your clients, your mother, your mother-in-law, your siblings, your boyfriend from five boyfriends ago.
Emails and Twitter DM's get forwarded. Facebook updates and private forum posts get copied and pasted and then forwarded. Your blog gets read by strangers in remote parts of the world.
The fact of the matter is that six degrees of separation is real. Somebody somewhere will always be randomly connected to one of your connections. It's easy to get comfortable when using the web or social media and slip into a mode of assuming that the only people reading your blog posts or updates are the ones you see commenting or following you. This couldn't be further from the truth.
You may be venting about a situation to what you think is a limited group of people, but in the end it could cause irreparable damage to a relationship. Some things are better shared over cocktails or coffee, not online. It is possible to be both transparent and maintain appropriate boundaries. Guard your relationships; they are what matter in the end, both in business and in life.
Originally published July 2009.