A study has found that young people are most likely to limit personal information online and least likely to trust sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and MySpace.
Marlene McManus, one of the young people, remarked that she has to represent a public face that does not hurt her image.
It might go against conventional wisdom, but a new report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project is adding fuel to the argument that young people are fast becoming the gurus of online reputation management, especially when it comes to social networking sites.
Among other things, the study found that they are most likely to limit personal information online – and the least likely to trust free online services ranging from Facebook to LinkedIn and MySpace.
Marlene McManus, 21, is among those young adults. On the job hunt since graduating from Clark University in Massachusetts, she’s been “scouring” her Facebook page, removing photos that contain beer cups and any other signs of college exploits. She’s also dropped Twitter altogether.
“I have to present a public face that doesn’t have the potential to hurt my image,” McManus says.
She has seen otherwise upstanding adults, well past their 20s, sharing compromising photos and questionable rants with too many people online. “I get embarrassed for these people and sometimes just want to shake them,” she says.
Mary Madden, the Pew researcher who was the study’s lead author, remarked that the findings in a way reflect that young people use social networking for long than elders and are therefore more experienced.