Over the past few months, I've attended dozens of cocktail parties, networking events, soirées... inevitably, when I mention my online presence (outside of San Francisco), that age-old reaction comes into play.
Let me give you a little piece of advice... this is the point where that kind older gentleman or overbearing motherly figure takes a deep breath in, preparing themselves to give you advice that will change your life. Don't leave traces of yourself online. You'll never get a job.
I've given up replying, preferring to nod, smile, and grab another glass of champagne. Because talking about the risks of online life gets old, and I would rather pique their brains on something they DO master much better than I.
Because, somehow, thanks to that pesky thing we call an online footprint, I've managed to make it to Paris for independent research, meetups, and conferences multiple times. For writing on a thesis topic my professors were only beginning to approach, I graduated from Georgetown "with distinction." I landed the internship of my dreams at Seesmic, and then another gig of my dreams working for D.C.'s #1 KANE show. I won a car with free gas for 6 months, and traveled across the country 3 times. And when it came to find the "real world" job of my dreams, I had developed enough confidence and passion to pursue it.
Perhaps it would have been safer to hide away from 9-5, behind the desk of a firm who would barely let me open a LinkedIN account. I'd probably become a frequent anonymous contributor to fmylife.com, though, and somehow get myself fired once my identity was revealed. Forutunately, thanks to the inspiration of people like Loïc, I gracefully avoided that fate.
The truth is, technology is changing society, genuinely forcing people to lead more open, honest, passionate lives as they drop Goffman's sociological and live life the way it should have been lived all along. Millions more twenty-somethings are doing the same each day... it's where we're headed. And have you heard? El pueblo unido jamas sera vencido. We're no longer buying the products that can't market themselves transparently and creatively. We're no longer taking the jobs that crush our spirit. We're learning the power of forgiveness and learning to laugh at collective shortcomings, allowing us to focus on things that really matter.
So! Live it up, make a toast, follow your dreams. Don't post that drunken picture up on Facebook, but do go ahead and smile for the world to see what genuinely makes you shine. If there's anything that still rings true from what our elders tell us, it's that honesty's been the best policy all along. So please, quit whining about the risks and embrace the opportunities!
I was going to translate some of this video for you, but now I've typed too much and my fingers are tired. Basically, Loïc says in so many words to jump in, make a name for yourself, be passionate, have goals, and never do anything that can't be punctuated by an exclamation mark. Words to live by. :)
Phew. Done venting about that pet-peeve. Tomorrow we will return to our normally scheduled programming.