Monday, July 10, 2006

Another reason why it's a BAD IDEA to use your real identity online...

This is an excerpt from an interesting article published in July 7th's Wall Street Journal:
Covering Your Tracks
In an Online World
Takes a Few Tricks

Mr. Pratt Cleaned Up His Act
To Impress an Employer;
Killing a MySpace Profile

By VAUHINI VARA
July 7, 2006; Page A1

Not long ago, searching the Web for the name Craig Pratt turned up a photo on Mr. Pratt's personal Web page showing a pair of jeans-clad high-heeled legs in the air with Mr. Pratt standing between them. There were pictures of Mr. Pratt's various drunken exploits. There were messages from friends about his dating habits.

A few months ago, Mr. Pratt, who is 22 years old, suddenly felt the need to kill that online self. He had just landed a job interview at a San Francisco public-relations firm. "I started freaking out," he says, worried that his potential employer might discover his rowdy online identity at MySpace.com, the Web site owned by News Corp. where he had posted the page that kept turning up in search results.

So he created a brand new online self, composing a new profile that left out embarrassing photos. He also pays much closer attention to the comments posted by his friends and pulls down the questionable ones as soon as he finds them. He changed his favorite book from Honcho, the hardcore magazine for gay men -- a joke, he says -- to "the complete works of Charles Dickens."

But inventing a new self was much easier than killing the old one. He says he emailed MySpace, begging the site to take down his old page. Nothing happened. He sent at least eight more urgent messages to the site, including a note to MySpace co-founder Tom Anderson. Finally, he received a cryptic email telling him to write his user name -- "craigisanidiot" -- and password with a marker on a piece of paper, to take a photo of himself holding it up, and to email it to MySpace along with a note saying, "I wish to be removed from MySpace."
I do hope Mr. Pratt got that job! I wonder which would give Mr. Pratt more exposure: his page on MySpace or a frontpage article in the Wall Street Journal? Somehow I don't think PR firms bother with the Journal, but you can bet your booty that they know all about MySpace...and most likey make good use of it...depending on your definition of "good" of course...

<>< TM

2 comments:

Craig Pratt said...

I did get the job, thanks. I suppose my amount of exposure would depend on the kind of PR a certain firm does.

theodicy said...

I'm glad you got that job! I kinda knew that a story like that wasn't going to be on Page 1 of the WSJ unless you did...

After typing up my silling comments after posting the excerpt, I realized that depending on the PR firm and it's clientel, the WSJ could be considered the "Holy Grail" of exposure. I remember it was viewed in that regard by people I used to work with at a financial software company.

But I have to admit, my views and ideas about PR firms have been skewed somewhat after watching Kevin Smith's film "Jersey Girl."

God bless.

<>< TM