Facebook, MySpace, Twitter: Are They Employment Risks?
Why Does The Media Say "Yes" When Most Employers Say "No?"
It started as a way for young people who knew each other in person to stay in touch across the Web. Then, they began getting to know total strangers in cyberspace, sometimes having over 200 “friends” proudly displayed for all to see. Older people got on board next. Yes, I’m talking about the phenomenon of social networking sites.
If it had stopped there, I wouldn’t be writing this. However, today they seem to be everywhere—well beyond the realms of ‘tweens, teens and college kids. Every time I find an interesting news story online, at the top is the option to “Tweet This!” Most major news stations have a Facebook site, including CNN and the related HLN. It makes the news when a sports star “tweets” something unflattering about another player, coach or owner. Even my university has jumped on the Facebook bandwagon, and half of my classmates have asked me why I haven’t done the same. Everyone I know has a MySpace page, but I still do not.
You all may be asking “Why don’t you just get on board?”
Answer: I want to have a real career later on in life!
About a year or two ago, even before Twitter existed, news shows and newspapers ran many stories warning high school and college students that potential employers check everything when screening potential applicants, including their online activity on social networking sites. “If you wouldn’t want your employer to see it, don’t put it on MySpace” most of them said.
For me, this translated into “just don’t bother.” Who can be sure what a potential employer might find objectionable? While I have no intention of taking nude pictures of myself, let alone posting them all over the Internet, what if I wrote a “blog” that someone didn’t like? Would that be enough to blackball me for life? If I did get a page, there wouldn’t be much on it.
This may sound paranoid to some of you. Many of you have similar accounts and often mirror your Hubs on them. I’m sure that you have jobs, or have had them, and will have them again once the economy turns around. This would seem to suggest that social networking sites are not as harmful as once suggested—perhaps.
For me, it’s the type of career I’m aiming for. As I have said in previous Hubs and on my profile, I am still hoping that the FBI will accept me after I graduate. The requirements—physical, mental and criminal (or, rather, lack thereof)—are very stringent. I imagine that they may not look too kindly upon those candidates who choose to display their life stories for all to see, complete with photos, Friends contacts, relationship status and zodiac sign. If they hire on the basis of personal merit, why let an ill-conceived blog about your latest breakup make it look like you’ve got too much drama in your life to be taken seriously as a future Special Agent?
When I first heard about HubPages, I was hesitant about joining for the exact same reasons. Any time one puts one’s personal information on the Internet, it is at the risk that something connected with you—in this case, something one writes about—will come back to haunt you later. There are a myriad of topics I haven’t even touched, and may not touch, until and unless my future career has been secured (and even then….). This is why I have not identified where I live in my profile or on any Hubs, nor used an actual photo.
Thankfully, all has been well so far, and probably will continue to be so. I also want to thank all of you for being so supportive. Please keep reading!
I end this Hub by asking for your opinions: In your personal experience, is it “safe” to join Facebook, MySpace and/or Twitter in terms of present and future employment? Is it the content that one must be cautious about, or is it having an account in the first place that may put you in jeopardy?
If merely having a social networking account can put you at employment risk, then WHY, WHY, WHY have they become so ubiquitous? You’d think that if it’s acceptable for CNN and The Weather Channel, it would be acceptable everywhere, right?
Ah, the (insert my screen name here)s of life….
Pros, Cons and Guidelines for Social Networking
OK or not OK?
- CNN.com - Breaking News, U.S., World, Weather, Entertainment & Video News
CNN.com delivers the latest breaking news and information on the latest top stories, weather, business, entertainment, politics, and more. For in-depth coverage, CNN.com provides special reports, video, audio, photo galleries, and interactive guides.
- National and Local Weather Forecast, Hurricane, Radar and Report
The Weather Channel and weather.com provide a national and local weather forecast for cities, as well as weather radar, report and hurricane coverage.
- Incompatible Browser | Facebook
Facebook is a social utility that connects people with friends and others who work, study and live around them. People use Facebook to keep up with friends, upload an unlimited number of photos, post links and videos, and learn more about the people
See whats happening on MySpace! Find friends & classmates, meet new people, listen to free music & build playlists, share photos, watch videos, start a blog, read celebrity news, get cool apps, free IM & more