Social networking sites seem to be the wave of the future. Twitter, MySpace, andFacebook are used on most computers and cell phones for instantaneous updates on friend’s actions and updates. It’s possible to keep in touch with many acquaintances and well as meet people throughout the country who have the same ideals with a few clicks from computers, cell phones, and other handheld devices. People are using the sites at home, at work, and on the go; it seems this is the problem. Many have become so accustomed to social networking that they seem to forget the internet is “public domain”.
Any information posted on a social networking site may be accessed by any of your “friends” or “followers”. If one of the aforementioned be a co-worker or your employer it is possible to find yourself looking for a new job. People have been fired over their Facebook status and their Tweets.
More and more employers are using social networking sites as an extension of a resume. If they can locate an applicant they may check the pictures (looking for unprofessional behavior), friends, and possibly even “wall posts”. In this way they can find out about reliability and even references.
There has been overwhelming controversy over recent firings, a particular story involving Philadelphia Eagles employee, Dan Leone. After posting negative thoughts about Brian Dawkins heading to Denver Leone was fired. After the incident he apologized but still was not reinstated.
Police and other law enforcement agencies can also access their information to the user’s detriment. A fugitive, Maxi Sopo, had fled to Mexico. Through his Facebook postings police were able to inform Mexican authorities and have him apprehended. He is now awaiting extradition. Police are currently undercover on social networking sites tracking internet predators as well as other criminals.
Many who are now just entering the job market do not seem to grasp the implications of their own personal websites. Anything published on the internet may be accessed by most at any time for the rest of their lives. Discussions about parties, drinking, illegal activities, and even previous jobs can be viewed by anyone with a connection and a search engine. A recent survey by Career Builder showed 45% of employers use social networking sites to research potential employees.
Despite the relatively new sites dedicated to embarrassing comments made on social networking sites (Lamebook.com being one example) many people do not understand the implications of publishing personal and sometimes damaging information on the internet, a public domain. People are encouraged to not publish information they would not feel comfortable announcing in a public area and to never admit to a crime. For more information about the “dos” and “don’ts” of professional social networking please check read this informative article.