Two social media dilemmas

Posted last week by The New York Times was an online article titled “A Pair of Social Media Predicaments“. Within this article writer Jenna Wortham addresses two major dilemmas when dealing with social media in the workforce.

Dilemma number one: Whether or not you should clean up your social media sites, Facebook profiles in particular, before applying for new jobs. This is something we will all face within the next year or two. It might not be on the top of your to do list, but employers are beginning to look at these things increasingly more.

The article references a recent study by Harris Interactive for CareerBuilder.com which found that 45 percent of employers questioned were using social networks to screen job candidates. This is more than double that of last year.

Many of you have probably read this type of advice multiple times, however, it’s becoming a trend for employers to Google job candidates in order to see if they can find any dirt on them. So if your display picture is of you with two beer cans in hand, you’re probably not going to land the job—sorry.

How to solve dilemma number one: clean it up.

The second of the dilemmas is dealt with within the workplace. If your job is encouraging you to use social media sites, however, you’re a bit hesitant, what should you do? Keep things private. Be sure to separate your social media sites used professionally and your social media sites used personally.

Both of these dilemmas are things we will ourselves be dealing with in the near future. The article ends with one good rule of thumb: “Don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t want plastered on a billboard with your face on it.” Always remember this.

For more interesting information regarding social media, view Wortham’s other articles—there’s certainly one out their that applies to you.

In regards to these two dilemmas, what do you think? Have you already starting cleaning up your Facebook profiles or don’t you think it really matters?

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3 responses to “Two social media dilemmas

  1. Oh yes. I’ve been keeping a close eye on my sites for several years now. It’s crazy how much prospective employers look at that stuff, and I’m not about to jeopardize my chances of getting a job because my Facebook page is a little unflattering.

    Maybe I’m wrong in saying this, but I don’t think there really IS a separation between personal and professional sites. When they look at one, they’ll look at the others. They all need to be treated the same.

    If you wouldn’t want your mama to see it, it shouldn’t be up. Period.

  2. Even if your privacy settings are locked down, employers (or professors, ahem) can still stumble across unflattering photos. Let’s say I’m friends with Steven but not you. Someone tags Steven in a photo at a Halloween party, and Facebook notifies me. I click on the photo, and hanging off Steven is … you.

    Or what if another friend of mine joins the FB group “I’m a nationally ranked binge drinker”? I go to the group, click on See All Members and there’s … you.

    Aside from unflattering or embarrassing postings, there’s the whole different question of whether journalists should post anything that belies their political leanings. Should you join “Americans for Sarah Palin” or “One Million Strong for Barack Obama”?

  3. Ann Schnoebelen

    I have a friend who tells this great story about going home to meet her new boyfriend’s family. As she was looking at the family pictures at the wall, her jaw dropped. There was her dad in the background of one of the photos.

    It’s an interesting concept. How many pictures are we actually in that we’re completely unaware of? And, as Jill brings up, how many of them are unflattering? And online?

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