I’ve always been an a fairly conservative guy. Well that is once I entered the business world around 20 years ago. I’ve recently begun to marvel at how some of todays younger people seem to make decisions that limit their future opportunities in a huge way. Just think about the last time you were eating at a restaurant and your server showed up with those huge “disc type” earings in that look so painful. Have you ever seen what their ears look like when they take their ear rings out? YIKES! How about when you see a fairly attractive woman and once you get a closer look you see an odd tatoo on her neck just under her ear. Not hidden under the neckline. Right in clear view in an area where she could never hide it without a band aid.

I am sure when you see people that have made these decisions you don’t look at them and wonder if they are ever going to serve public office or become the CEO of the next fortune 50 company. In fact you can probably eliminate about 80% of the career paths they could have potentially chosen, had they not made those decisions. Please don’t take what I am saying the wrong way. I believe all of us have the opportunity to make whatever choices we want and I am not some elitest snob that believes everyone should aspire to acheive some top corporate position. I believe that if you are doing something that you love to do, you have the ability to make an incredibly positive impact on this world. I simply believe that sometimes people are very short sighted in their decision making process and don’t think about the lifelong impact thier decisions can make.

Facebook, myspace, twitter, and quite frankly anything you put on the Internet can have the same impact! I was recently reading a status update one of my “Facebook friends” made, and I was absolutely stunned at the insensitivity of the comment. I was absolutely amazed he could have been so short sighted and put something like that out there … even if it was simply an ill attempt at humor.Now I have a pretty radical sense of humor, and can certainly engage in some very off color humor at times. I can assure you those times are IN PRIVATE and certainly would never publish that online!

Every single time you publish something on your website or favorite social media site, those key strokes will live FOREVER! If you happen to have children I am sure you have had this conversation with them and if you haven’t … STOP READING NOW AND RUN to where they are and have that talk immediately! Any smart employer will use Facebook, myspace, and any other social media site to check up on a potential new hire. They will simply type your name in Google and be presented with a quick view of the digital footprint that you’ve created over the years. The news headlines are filled with many examples of people who’s lives are completely uprooted because they’ve simply acted before thinking of the possible consequences they would incur.

I am a HUGE fan of Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, and a number of other social media sites. I love the way I can stay connected to a large number of people without the need to pick up the phone, send a letter, or an email. I get to peer in on their day to day life without reaching out. I simply think every single of of us needs to be very conscious that every action we take online is very public, and something that will haunt you if you aren’t careful. Make sure you take every precaution you can to protect your reputation. Especially if you are going to be publishing something the entire world can see.