Do You Have an Online Tattoo?

Author's Note: This post was updated on August 15th, 2014 with an additional last paragraph and resource.

I have never been a fan of tattoos, but an online one? Today, many online platforms have become online profiles we create as we move along, representations of who we are and what we do that permits us to reach people beyond our physical means. There is one personal such as Facebook, one more professional such as LinkedIn, one more informal such as Twitter, you name it. Even ePortfolio is a way to present yourself (and your academic work) to an online community of people. But in these days when people take into account whether you're on Instagram, Twitter, or any other social platform (because they take for granted that you're on Facebook already), one must stop and think what is its relevance and how they can affect us.

Once you get that electronic tattoo, you’re going to be rolling up and down for a long time, so as you go through this stuff, just be careful on what you post.
— Juan Enriquez

A tattoo is something permanent. And a social media profile can be too. But its importance relies on how everyone can utilize it. On the one hand, one must now be savvy when hunting for a job because it can reveal those embarrassing photos or moments you wish you could hide underneath your bed. On the other hand, there are times when it works to your advantage and can actually speak on your behalf, highlighting your skills and potential. Now, whatever you post online (like this blog) builds up to a pile of information about you that lives on the web. Take the most recent Twitter threat by a 14-year-old who got arrested afterwards (here's more about that), just like that a social media profile can leave unprecedented marks on your records even when you haven't acted in any way other than a simple act of expression. Additionally, social media profiles can do way more, even predict your work performance as this Mashable article points out.

In case you come to the conclusion that your online tattoos will live longer than your bodies will, as Juan Enriquez points out, then you might want to follow his helpful tips below. Enjoy.

Another field of discussion and debate opens up regarding tattoos of deceased people. In addition to Enriquez's points to making sure our online self does not portray someone different from whom we are, we also need to account for those who are no longer with us. In an interesting article by Maeve Duggan from Pew Research, she speaks about the Fiduciary Access to Digital Access Act (FADA) as an improvement to existing law regarding who can gain access to these account once a person is deceased. 

Do you have any comments or ideas to share? Write your comments below.

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I am an ePortfolio instructor working in New York City. I am also a student in the MA program in educational psychology at Hunter College. In my current position, I instruct students how to develop and build their ePortfolio to showcase their academic skills. I also collaborate in professional development seminars with faculty members from various departments on building the curriculum to teach the first year seminar experience. Read more about me.