De-Tagged Does Not Mean Erased

Though we’ve all heard that there are future employers, spouses, and murderers who are going to look us up on Facebook to stalk our past indiscretions, how many of us can truly say that our Facebooks are rated PG? While I remember myself painstakingly deleting every picture with the slightest reference of alcohol before I entered college, once I arrived at Michigan, it seemed that every person I knew was tagged in some sort of waterfall or beer pong picture. Slowly, I stopped being so anxious about what went up in my albums; a shot glass here, a beer bottle there, etc. Sure, I still de-tagged pictures of myself chugging bottles or double-fisting shots, but it never occurred to me that the mere mention of alcohol in an album would hurt my good name.

However, a couple of weeks ago I was presented with a problem when the advisor of my sorority came to me with pictures of me and my fellow sisters drinking in the house. While it is pretty easy to deny that you break the rules, it is hard to do so when you are presented with a picture of yourself mid-Smirnoff shot in your own room.

Though none of the pictures came from my own albums, I still found myself staring at my own face. These were pictures that were DE-TAGGED. Pictures that I had known were inappropriate, and had clicked the little button next to my name, the one that makes everything bad go away. I suppose when we all look at the pictures tagged of us and don’t see one, we forget that, despite not having our name, it still exists. Albums from August with pictures that I had forgotten existed were shown to me. While my first thought was, “Wow, this person needs a life if she is stalking pictures of me from 6 months ago,” my second one was “Well. This isn’t pretty.”

To steal one of the most worthwhile things my father has ever said to me, it wasn’t that our parents didn’t do stupid or illegal things when they were younger. They just never had to worry that within 24 hours, this illegal activity would be popping up on mini-feeds all over the country. While my experience with adults and Facebook has luckily left me with minimal scars, this was my first warning to how technology-savvy bosses can check in on their future employers. My advisor used a girl in my house to spy on us. Large companies have greater access, more resources, and more reasons to background check their employees’ backgrounds. Would you really want someone who advertises pictures of themselves passed out drunk or in a cloud of smoke in your law firm every day?

So here is the warning: Delete Delete Delete. Do not de-tag. And if you are like me and still want everyone to be able to see your pictures, discover You can e-mail your friends and family your albums and, since it is a website, you are safe in case your computer ever crashes and you lose everything. While I love the ease and access Facebook allows, having my friends view pictures of us holding vodka in one hand and rum in the other aren’t worth me being punished again.

[Photo courtesy of Asurroca on Flickr.]

Saturday Read: The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
Saturday Read: The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
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