Facebook, privacy, and common sense

While our conversation was about (and through, for that matter) Twitter, the observations  a friend and I had about privacy and the Internet during an exchange yesterday could just as easily have been about any of the social networking sites, personal Websites, blogs, or the countless other ways personal information ends up on the Web.

The conclusion was as simple as it is commonly ignored or just forgotten: don’t be a knuckle-head.

You see, visit a person’s profile on Twitter and, among other things, you’ll find a comprehensive list of their updates (posts/tweets). This is assuming they haven’t deleted them, of course. From links to a great article to random bitches about politics, every tweet you’ve ever made is out there for anyone to see. And people are looking.

You might be surprised just how people can find you. Looking through the stats for this blog, I discovered someone found their way here through the following search:

search-term-that-found-blog1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The post they found was about customer service, but you never know what search engines are going to dig up once you’ve broadcast. It’s out there, is what I’m saying. The conversation I mentioned above was actually more about the potential professional impact of social networks, but if you’re an employer and thinking about an applicant I think you’d be silly not to look and see if they have a Twitter account. Or MySpace page. Or LinkedIn profile. You get the idea.

And for those in the market of finding a job, it might make sense to take a few minutes and make sure your public face is the one you actually want people to see…

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2 comments

  1. As someone whose job it is to oversee the HR function for an organization, I would definitely agree that anyone with a blog, social networking site, etc. should “put his/her best face forward.” Oftentimes, people blur the lines between what is appropriate to say from a professional perspective versus a personal perspective.

    Yes, amongst friends, but not published on a social networking site, you can grumble, complain, confess crushes on someone at work, etc. However, it is never a good idea to publish any of the above on a personal site where those with whom you work have access. It can, and most likely will, prevent you from getting a job at some point.

    Recently, I had a friend on my social networking site proclaim how happy he was to have gotten an interview with a huge oil and gas company. He decided to put this on his “wall.” I sent him a message telling him to remove the information. At some point, your page will get searched, and you definitely don’t want to come across as bragging or having your friends write ridiculous comments to your post.

    What are still great ideas for those who are looking for jobs, however, are: use a professional e-mail address when job searching, spell correctly, use appropriate grammar, be clear in communication and behave like an adult who wants a job.

    No kidding, I have seen a Gen Y applicant address a date on a resume as: February 1, 2K9. Was the extra “0” in 2009 going to kill him? How about a shortened text that read “Thx”? That is NOT a substitute for good manners and a handwritten thank-you note.

    In any case, with more social networking sites and blogs going up, it will be interesting to see our applicant pool in the next few years. Here’s to hoping for the best…

  2. Hope,
    Man, I miss hanging out with you guys.
    Thanks for the comments and great advice about professional communications. Scary just how little thought seems to go into resumes, emails, and the like. As it sometimes seems we’ve landed squarely between text shorthand and advertising-driven colloquialisms (Got milk?), it’s almost surprising more applicants don’t write 2K9…

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