Digital Dirt

April 23, 2009

“Sexy Babes” and “Sexting”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Danny Petre @ 9:25 am

I was checking out my blog stats a few moments ago and I noticed a reoccurring reference site:  They have put a link back to my blog post on “Sexting.”  (My most popular post with a few hundred views.)

I bet the creeps that check out Sexy Babes were sorely disappointed that I didn’t have a half naked women in my blog.  But the video of Katie Couric on the other hand….


April 22, 2009

Facebook: “we gave you a choice…”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — Danny Petre @ 10:10 pm


UPDATE to my UPDATE on my post “Your Facebook profile Isn’t Yours” from a couple months ago about Facebook’s privacy policy.

I logged on to Facebook today and the top of the page screamed democracy… 

It said:  

On February 26, Facebook announced plans to make site governance more transparent and democratic. Since that time, users and experts around the world have been providing comments on the new documents Facebook proposed to govern the site and replace the existing Terms of Service – the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities and Facebook Principles. Facebook has read the comments on these documents and has revised the documents based on this feedback. Now, please vote to let Facebook know which documents you think should govern the site.

To be notified about future proposed changes to the documents governing Facebook, please become a Fan of the Facebook Site Governance Page .

It says that voting started on April 16 at 12:00 pm PDT and ends on April 23 (tomorrow) at 11:59 am.  This is the first time I have seen this “Governance Vote” thing and now have less than 12 hours to actually read each terms of service agreement.  God, there is never enough time for democracy.  I am desperate to be a part of this online nation we call Facebook, but I don’t have the time!  (Note the large dose of sarcasm please.)

The TOS agreement is like at least a thousand words.  I doubt Facebook users are capable of reading something over 140 characters in length (I know I’m not).  I think they are just doing this to one day say, “we gave you a choice. You voted we listened…… Now stop bitching.  ” 

You won this time Facebook.  It doesn’t happen often, so soak it up.

April 19, 2009

I’m back

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Danny Petre @ 7:36 pm

After a few weeks of silent blogging (a.k.a. thinking about blogging but not actually doing it because I was too busy), I’m back!

In a few weeks this blog is going to be transformed.  Class will be over and I will be ready to venture into deeper blog waters.  But Digital Dirt will not be forgotten.  I’m not yet sure how I want take the next step in the blog world, but I do know I want to be famous for it.  Not really.  But I do want discuss interesting topics that will engage my readers (the 30 of you each day).  

Take the poll below and vote on what I should be blogging about!!!  All in the interest if spreading Dirt of course.



March 17, 2009

For All You Job Seekers Out There… The Millions of You

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Danny Petre @ 8:45 pm

Below is some great advice for those of you looking for a job now or in the future.  David Willmer, executive director of Robert Half Technology, a tech industry recruiter was kind enough to share his expert advice on the subject of job hunting and the affect of one’s digital footprint.  Plus, some other interesting tidbits.


–          What trends do you see with the emergence of digital footprints?

The reality is people are finding more and more information about other people on the Web. Individuals need to be aware of their online presence and understand that what they post online publicly is out there for all to see, indefinitely – whether it’s a potential employer, fellow coworker, client or prospective business partner. Virtually everyone leaves some sort of ‘digital footprint’ these days, whether they intentionally set out to create one or not. Younger Gen Yers, especially, should keep in mind that what they post now could affect them later once they enter the job market. For those currently in the job market, it’s critical to learn how to manage electronic information about yourself, and ensure that it presents a favorable, professional image of you. Having a positive online presence is especially important today since hiring managers are often searching the Web to find out more about job applicants. Employers aren’t just looking for red flags – often, they are seeking evidence that someone is actively involved in the profession, perhaps through participation in trade groups or industry blogs. They also may be looking for inconsistencies with representations made on applicants’ resumes.

–          How can job seekers begin to control theirs? If at all.

While you can’t always control what others say about you online, you can post prudently, including comments on personal blogs or in open forums, as well as photos. In addition, you can take steps to ensure your online image is as polished and professional as possible. The first step is finding out what information about you is already online by performing a search using popular search engines. If you discover an item that you wouldn’t want hiring managers to see, ask that the person who posted the information or website administrator to remove it. Similarly, untag any inappropriate photos of yourself. If you belong to social networking sites or have a personal blog, it’s a good idea to adjust your privacy settings so you control who has access to the content. Also, set alerts to Google or other tracking services, like Technorati or BlogPulse, under your name so you can receive an e-mail notification every time something new is said about you online.

–     Can you really just ask websites to remove information that you don’t agree with (as you outline in your managing digital imprint tips)?

If you find something online about yourself that is untrue or that you wouldn’t want hiring managers to see, you should definitely contact the person who published the information or website administrator and kindly ask that it be taken down. Most sites have policies that deal with such requests; and while your request might not always be honored, it doesn’t hurt to try. That said, it’s important to be prepared to discuss any false or unflattering information about you that cannot be removed, and spin the situation in a positive light. For example, if a hiring manager asks about a wild photo from your college days, steer the conversation in a more positive direction by pointing out how your outgoing personality will help you thrive in the role. Most employers will be understanding if you are honest about the incident and can see you are qualified for the position.

–     How are recruiters and HR professional using the digital space to research candidates?  Do you have any interesting example of candidates that have gotten jobs or have lost a job       specifically because of their digital footprint?

Hiring managers may be searching the digital space, including professional and social networking sites and blogs, looking for clues to a candidate’s character, personality or work ethic. While there may be situations where they have uncovered information, either positive or negative, we find it more productive to interview job candidates in person and speak directly to some of their references.

–          Does Gen Y have a different mentality when if comes to digital footprints than Gen X and earlier generations?  Content generators vs. spectators…

Generation Y has certainly been called more tech-savvy than previous generations because of the proliferation of technology they have been exposed to early on. That doesn’t necessarily mean they are any better at managing their digital footprint than members of Gen X or earlier generations. They may be more familiar with new tools and protocols related to the Web, but they need to be just as vigilant about what they are saying and posting online as professionals who are less accustomed to these activities.

–          Do you foresee government protection and privacy legislation impacting the transfer of digital information?  Related to background checks for employment, as well as for banking, search, social networking, etc.  Like there is for analog information (US Mail)

 We can’t predict what legislation may develop in the future, so it’s always best to be selective and protective with the information you post electronically.

March 9, 2009

Really Dirty–Online Porn

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Danny Petre @ 6:41 pm


The question I’d like to answer in this post: do we have an “digital porn footprint.”  It’s a question that concerns many Americans.  Not me of course.  The interesting thing about digital footprints is that the Dirt left behind is a a mix of lots of different conditions porn site being one of them (see my personal list of Dirt causing activity–you’ll note that visiting porn site is NOT on there).  

So should 16 year old boys everywhere be concerned?  Of for that matter should the state of Utah?  As reported by the Consumerist, and thanks to our friends at Edelman (I bet Glynis spearheaded this project), we now know what we all thought, that the fine, ubber religious Mormons of Utah are the biggest smut watchers.  Or at least the state that has the highest online porn subscribership (5.47 people out of 1000).  That doesn’t seem too high to me, but still makes for a funny data point.

Utah #1






So, should we be worried?  I think not.  Unless after your online smut swigging, your online porn peeping, or your online nudie noodling, you don’t delete your cookies, think you’re safe.  BUT if you are actually PAYING for online pornography (which I don’t know why you would) I think you are leaving a digital footprint that could, one day, get you caught in digital quicksand.  Naughty, naughty…

March 3, 2009

Digital Wasteland

Filed under: Uncategorized — Danny Petre @ 9:20 am


The other day when I forgot the password to my Plymouth State alumni email I began thinking about the wasteland of Digital Dirt that is in never never land.  I took a quick assessment of my current and past email accounts and social network profiles and it read something like this:






Current email and Social Networking Accounts:


Mcgarrybowen email

Columbia email

Plymouth State Alumni email (which I don’t know the pass word for)

Yahoo email for DigiComm

Yahoo personal email

Other random Yahoo email that I don’t remember the password for

Gmail email



Harvard Business Review social network

Columbia SCE students and alumni social network

Google Doc

Google Pics


Google Groups
Yahoo Groups



Past email and Social Networking Accounts:


A couple Yahoo accounts from college (I think)

My very first email account with AOL

Publicis Groupe email (now inactive, but likely archived somewhere)

Plymouth State email (also inactive, but likely archived)

MySpace account




Then I began to list the other personal information that is digitized:


Bank of American online (I don’t know the last time I wrote a paper check.  Even if I do, it is scanned a put online.)

Discover Card

American Express online

AOL Instant messenger &

Mac MobileMe

GoDaddy Account





Mobile Speed Pass

MTA MetroCard

Boarder’s Rewards Card

Barns & Noble Rewards Card

Footlocker Rewards Card

Store #1 Credit Card (I don’t want to divulge all my credit cards!)

Store #2 Credit Card

Store #3 Credit Card (I don’t have a credit problem, trust me)

Bank of America Credit Card

Columbia Student ID Card

Columbia Club Membership Card profile

Google Docs

Google Pics


Google Groups
Yahoo Groups


Business & Writing WordPress account

Current Digital Dirt WordPress blog account




This, I fear, is only the tip of my “digital iceberg.”  It is truly amazing how much of my information is digitized.  How in the world can I (we) manage our digital footprint if I can even remember my email password?


Truth be told—everything that is personal is digitized (except for my journal and the “to-do” list stuck on my refrigerator).


March 2, 2009


Filed under: Uncategorized — Danny Petre @ 11:40 am

Just a little ranting for a moment:

I hate WordPress.  I can’t add videos, I can’t add photos.  My fonts are all f’ed up.  So my previous post sucked… Not because I suck, but because WordPress diminished me to sucking. 

Ironically I am able to add the below photo!


The “Mom Test”…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Danny Petre @ 11:34 am

College Kids

spaceballThe guy in this video says do the “mom test” if you are applying for college… I fear it is not that easy.  He says, just delete photos and text on your Facebook account that you wouldn’t want your mom to see then you will get into college!  Oh yeah, “just delete it.” 


I’d ask him one question:

1)      What about information (photos, videos, text, etc) that friends have posted of you or that live on other website that you don’t have control over?  How do you get rid of that Dirt mister guy with the Buzz Lightyear action figure “college admission specialist”?


My advice:  I’ve said it before, “don’t post anything you wouldn’t want anyone other than your friends (moms included) to see.”  Then you don’t have to worry about cleaning it up.  I wonder if one day there will be an online etiquette class in 6th graders.  It could the new “technology” class (I remember when I was in 7th grade “shop class” became “technology” and “home economics class” was done away with!)


Sorry I couldn’t embed the video (WordPress sucks)…

February 24, 2009

Person Types Email, Person Hits Send, Person Lives in Regret for Hitting Send

Filed under: Uncategorized — Danny Petre @ 6:00 pm

Or perhaps regret isn’t part of the equation. Email, in today’s world, is a HUGE component of our digital footpring.  On NBC’s Today Show this morning they discussed the “etiquette” of farewell emails when you leave a job or, as the case most likely is, when you get fired. A woman got fired just after having a miscarriage (makes for a nice emotional story angle), and sent a farewell email to her lawyer colleagues. It wasn’t a “see ya soon” kinda email either. She let the powers that be know how she felt. How inconsiderate it was to fire a woman that just went through a traumatic time in her life and how “cowardice” they were. Match lit, bridge burned. 

So I ask you:

Have you ever sent an email to the wrong person? Like the Eli Lilly employee that leaked a 1 BILLION DOLLAR confidential government settlement negotiation to the New York Times because he emailed the wrong Berenson. The NYT reporter is named Alex Berenson, and one of the company’s lawyers is named Bradford Berenson. Oops.

Hit reply all by accident while making a snide comment about another person the CC list? In a recent online survey conducted by AOL, 32 percent of the 4,000 respondents have at one time or another mistakenly forwarded an e-mail to an unintended recipient. And often, it’s something NOT so nice.

Or any other regrettable email malpractice?

Share your stories!!!!

This girl is a slef-proclaimed “liberal weenie”:

It happens all the time. My heart sinks every time I discover a typo in an email after I hit send. Luckily for me, that is the extent of my email mistakes (at least for now). I like to think that I am relatively “careful” about the content and tone of my emails especially with my work account.

Roy Matus, CEO of InBoxer Inc, offers the following tips on avoiding e-mail embarrassment (as furnished for CNN):

• Type out the person’s full name when addressing your e-mail. If you type just the first few letters and let your e-mail program fill out the rest based on your address book, it could easily misroute your message without your realizing it.

• Double-check the addresses of your intended recipients before you hit “send.” Do you really want all the people to get this particular message?

• Be sure to notify your company’s legal department if there is any chance that governance, compliance or privacy regulations were violated as a result of something you sent by mistake.

• Immediately notify the person who received the e-mail that it was a mistake and, if possible, ask them not to read the message — or at least to delete it right away.

February 18, 2009

Digging Yourself Out of the Ditch


So you’re trying to find a job (good luck) and you want to make sure that potential employers and recruiters don’t find anything too risqué about you?  A few tips to hide, but not necessarily delete, your Digital Dirt.

Below is some info I found on  There really aren’t too many resources out there to help cleanup or delete your digital footprint.  I will keep searching and add more tips as I find them or think of them.

Google yourself:  See what’s out there and what rises to the top of the search.

If you find something you’d rather the world didn’t see, contact the site’s owner and ask that it be removed. If you get a “no,” contacting search engines isn’t likely to help. To date, I haven’t looked into getting my mentions removed.

Clean up your social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace. Chris Hughes, a spokesman for Facebook, says he’s heard that recruiters with alumni email addresses log in to look up job candidates who attended the same school (according to  Remember to tighten up your privacy settings.  Plus, in you future social networking adventures, if you think it might cause trouble down the road don’t post it!

Bury your dirt. Also suggested by contributor, Jared Flesher: “The best way to make something [bad] go away is to have a lot of ‘online presence’ of your own,” says Luis Villa, senior technology analyst at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School. He suggests starting a Web page or a blog.”

Tune in to your blog buzz. You can monitor your Dirt presence through sites like or Google Alerts, which will alert you by email when your name is mentioned in internet newsgroups, blogs, etc.

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