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There’s a never ending amount of posts out there on how to develop your personal brand; the topic seems like it’s been beaten to death. But nowadays, how you define your brand changes a lot quicker so there’s always something to learn.

It’s easy to develop who you are online when you’ve only been active in the space for a few years, like myself, but what about the younger generation that’s growing up with social media at their fingertips? Unless their parents are watching their every move online, and let’s face it many aren’t, kids are going online without thinking of the future.

I don’t expect a 13-year old to think about what his future employer will say about the things he posts, but as he grows older with the comfort of posting his life online, will it be common sense that he knows those drunken pictures or angry blog posts can easily be found, or will the same things need to be taught?

I got to thinking about this after reading a CBC.ca article about Nathalie Blanchard.

As the article points out, Nathalie is fighting with her insurance company to get her sick benefits back. It all had to do with Manulife finding Facebook pictures of her seemingly having fun at a party when she was on sick leave for major depression.

The pictures used to “catch” Natalie were apparently private, and photos like that are supposedly only findable if you know the direct link, even if it’s been deleted off of Facebook, according to the article.

Natalie’s pictures probably weren’t as bad as Manulife is making them out to be. This brings me back to my original point. If a teenager posts questionable photos of themselves but later realize they don’t want those photos out there, is it too late? That content is available long after they’ve been deleted, and could pop up anywhere.

Also, if a potential employer decided to research your online persona, and 45 per cent of them do, according to Harris Interactive, you should really avoid posting about how much you hate your boss or job; common sense really.

So for everyone untagging and deleting photos they don’t like, look out because they’ll always be there. And for those that may be comfortable with posting anything now, down the road your priorities could change and that content could come back to bite you.

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I now blog at inseansopinion.com full time. Please visit me there for movie and book reviews as well as any other commentary that comes to mind.

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