In person, people tend to adapt their behavior to the situation — talking to a co-worker requires different language and attitude than what’s comfortable with a college friend. On social networks, everyone’s in on the same conversation.
Not only that, an indiscreet comment in a face-to-face exchange can be regretted and forgotten. Online, it can live for years, providing personal details to potential bosses and marketers.
“For the first time in history, we can’t tailor our image for our specific goals,” said Mark R. Leary, professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University. “When we have to create an all-purpose social history, how do people juggle competing audiences?”