Lately, in the media there has been a lot of talk about Big Data. This piqued our interest so we did some investigation as we wanted to find out what this meant to us as individuals. Although we had an understanding of large data collections it started to become a little scary when faced with the cold hard facts. The increasing volume and detail of information captured by organisations using the likes of multimedia, social media, and the Internet can influence your future job prospects and the public perception of you. Below is a bit of a breakdown about just some of the ways this may effect you:

  • Your internet search cache is recorded and advertising is sent to you on relevant topics
  • Now days CCTV captures you walking down the street in most large cities and you can be arrested or charged if you do something illegal in public
  • Phone calls, emails and text messages in New Zealand are copied and checked via intelligent software for word strings relating to illegal activity, unless they are encrypted
  • Internet searches are often used by employers looking for unethical behaviour before hiring a new staff member
  • Your smart phone or social media images can be collected and used in court or by the media
  • Credit information, house sales, salary and economic standings, interests and a photo of your house from Google maps is available to anyone

In short, we often unknowingly give away a lot of information about ourselves. And, by tagging others into our social media posts without their consent we may be giving away their information too. Individually the photos or information seems innocuous but with years of collated information individuals or organisations are able to build up an interesting and comprehensive profile on just about anyone. This perception is your online profile which can be difficult to loose especially if it’s negative and can determine if you get work in sensitive roles or in fact, possibly any role.

To help combat a potentially negative online profile perhaps we should think a bit more about the information we put out into the public domain and manage this more effectively. We can do this by posting positive things about ourselves including the likes of any community service or volunteer work which we may do. That way, when a potential employer does a quick Google search prior to offering us that long desired dream job the returned search will be fill of positive information only reinforcing why we should be offered the role.

As a matter of interest, have you done a Google search on yourself?