There is a lesson in everything. This will be long but I hope that you stick with me. I promise I am going somewhere in this post.

Years ago I was the admin for a married couples online forum. There were always lively discussions and because people came from different backgrounds things could often get heated. We didn't really moderate per se but when things got out of hand we would often step in to cool the conversation.

One time we had someone get on their high horse about the discussion topic. It was risque in nature but, hey, we were grown married people and the person was asking for advice. This person made a point of talking down to the person asking the question and judging them for sharing such "private" information on the forum. After some back and forth with other members this person continued to double down and say what a terrible spouse this person must be and how horrible it was to put their information out there. Who knows how her information could be used. For Shame...

The conversation was getting to heated for us and we felt this person was really out of line. When we asked folks to calm the discussion this person decided that we were not doing our jobs as unpaid admins to keep users information safe. This person believed that this thread should not have been created. Now mind you this was a free, public forum. We had threads about all manner of things that pertain to marrieds. This includes sex, which is a part of married life. Or it should be. This person made a point to say that they would never share such information.

It didn't take us long to realize that this was not true. For some reason this person didn't realize that EVERYTHING that they posted on our site was searchable. It was also not restricted to just admins. ANY user could search for them. We made one additional post to the thread before locking comments. We explained that, yes, one should be careful about what one posts online. *We also shared that one shouldn't throw stones when one's house is made out of glass. * Included in the post was every thread that his person had created within our forum. We also linked to several comments that this person had made that was as risque if not more so then the OP. We got several PMs from this person asking to remove the thread or at least our comment.

Now why do I share this story? We use social media in such a haphazard way now. I love the internet and enjoyed growing up with modems, BBS, usenet and such. I remember when there was "anonymity" online. People would create whole alternate personas online, myself included. Here is the thing. It was a lie. It was possible, even then, to determine someone's identity. It was hard, but it was possible. Most of the time things were all in good fun. What we have to realize now that our online life is intertwined with our offline life. I try to advise some folks in my circle when I see stuff that they may want to be cautious about.

There is a story in my circle today about someone whose public posts have derailed what was to be the opportunity of a lifetime. Don't mess around and find out like my friend did. I am not telling you that you shouldn't express yourself online. I think that we should be free to express ourselves. However, it is TOTALLY appropriate for a corporation to read your words and decide that you are not a good fit for their organization. Let that sink in.

As always this is a lesson that I have learned the hard way. If you want to hear one of my stories let me know. I'll share it with you... offline.