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Home » Blogging, Careers, Family, Management

Social-networking can be rewarding and it can get you a pink slip

Submitted by on October 22, 2008 6 Comments
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Having MySpace or other social-networking sites that present anything less than a stellar picture of oneself can hurt one’s chances at advancement or even ongoing employment. This goes for full-time employed people and freelancers/consultants.

Last month, I wrote a post discussing the potential dangers that social-networking sites can have on future employment.

In my morning reading, I came across the below news story written by Nate Anderson on ars technica.

Every teacher wants to be the cool guy, the Robin-Williams-in-Dead-Poet’s-Society friend to students, but a court case from Connecticut offers a lesson to teachers-in-training: be careful when you buddy up to students online. While sites like MySpace make it easy to engage in casual contact with students, they also make it easy for the contact to cross professional red lines.

While this teacher clearly stepped over the line with his students, it does illustrate some of the dangers of social-networking sites and conflicts of interest that may have an effect on employment status.

The greater position of authority, or likely hood of promotion, that someone is in, the greater the level of scrutiny that people will be under. If someone is going to be considered for promotion, management and HR will review not only the work ethic and achievements of the candidate, but may review public information to be sure that the person is truly ready for the position.

It is simple, people checkout the people that are in positions of trust. At the beginning of each school year, I search the Internet for any information about my daughters’ teachers and principal. As a parent, I want to “know” the people that have influence over my children. I am fortunate that I have never found anything that was disturbing, but that does not mean that I do not continue to check. And if I find something, you bet I will bring it to the attention of the principal or school board.

Be aware of your online identify – It Matters!

6 Comments

  • I spoke to a friend on the East Coast of the US, and he told me that his HR manager took a couple of people to task for calling in sick. When the employees protested, he showed them printouts from their twitter postings indicating they were staying home because they were to hungover or still too buzzed from the night’s activities to work.

    These types of activities will not do well for these employees futures as it show a lack of integrity and dependability.

    UPDATE: I came across Slightly Drunk‘s Blog and he has a funny post (pg-13) that nails this on the head.

  • Gem says:

    Indeed, the dangers of social networking. I find it very easy to look up a person’s identity when he/she is online.

    My account is connected to a lot of social networks. I got Facebook, BlogCatalog, Friendster, MyBloglog, Technorati and a lot of other sites. Any employer who launches into a background check will definitely see those three blogs that I own.

    I had to be very careful; I take care not to rant about my previous job.

  • All great comments – thank you.

    Philip – Google is amazing and the amount of information one can dig up can be scary. Like hearing a name in a conversation that is passing you in a hall, and a few minutes searching Google, can giving you insight into corporate direction and possible changes in management.

    Christine – I must admit that I am shocked at what some people put and say online. As a parent of three girls, I monitor Internet activity. You just have to these days; the influences are many and often negative.

    Simon – I could not agree with you more. I have questioned candidates about what I have found online. Some of it was impressive, and some of it caused me to round-file the resume.

    As leaders we rely heavily on our staff and thier actions reflect directly on our performance and reputation. Frankly, I have worked to darn hard to develop a very good reputation to risk it for anything or anyone.

  • An external profile can be a blessing and a course. It can be observed by close friends and potential employers alike. When we are in an ‘in crowd’ it’s too easy to become cliquey and become part of something distasteful, or something we wouldn’t want our mothers to read. E.g. Filthbook on Facebook.

    I think we have to imagine that anything we associate with in social media is put on our CV, or on a big banner outside of our house! Our social profiles are equally or more visible than those!
    We need to be *very* considerate of what our public face says about us as it has a high probability of appearing across the interview table or in a performance review…

    Simon Stapletons last blog post..When Outsourcing Goes Wrong

  • Christine says:

    One of the youth counselors at our church sent out a letter to parents stating that he has a myspace account, encouraging parents to be aware of their teens use of social media. I thought that was pretty smart of him.

    Christines last blog post..Blog Tip: More and Excerpt

  • Philip says:

    Excellent point. Google gets better everyday. If you have posted something on-line, ever, it will be found.

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