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What Would People Think?

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Beware Your Facebook

It's not the first time I've heard this story. Someone posts something on the Internet, thinking it's only going out to friends and perhaps the occasional random person out there in cyberspace who doesn't affect our lives in anyway. Then an employer or potential employer Googles this person's name and - presto! - no job.

According to a story on the NY Times, many employers are not only Googling potential job candidates, but researching them on social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook. College kids who post photos of themselves passed out drunk suddenly find they aren't getting any job interviews.

Part of me feels like this is an invasion. Many, perhaps most, college kids do stuff they wouldn't want employers or their grandma to know about. These social networking sites feel like a safe place to be silly and immature. But I guess that's just naive.

This poses a dilemma I've been trying to figure out for a while. I've often debated whether to post my more controversial opinions on this blog. In the spirit of free speech and, especially, free debate in the marketplace of ideas - I want to post whatever random idea pops in my head and hash it out with friends and acquaintances. I may change my mind. I may be convinced by what a friend says. (Indeed, that seems to be much of the idea behind the blogs of a number of my friends and acquaintances.) But now anything I say is recorded in stone for anybody to see. Even if I eliminate the blog, there's probably some way it can be found. If I'm going to be all sterilized, what's the point?

On the other hand, there's some stuff that doesn't really NEED to be posted. Anybody out there who lists "smokin' blunts" as one of your interests on Blogger, Facebook, etc. might want to reconsider.


  • Makes me wonder if my current employers ever found that picture of me smoking a "joint" that was printed in issues of The Slant. Given that the website is listed on my resumé, I would imagine so. Guess I got off lucky.

    By Blogger Mike, at 6/11/2006 4:56 PM  

  • I think this highlights the stupidity of employers more than the dangers of social networking sites. Any employer who passes on a candidate that can do their job simply because some embarrassing photos show up on the Web deserves to go bankrupt.

    By Blogger Jeff, at 6/12/2006 10:58 AM  

  • My question is what employer has the time to look up and read everything they have written that is on the web? Now maybe it is because I live in the world of non-profit where they give up their entire lives for the cause, but... I have friends who do HR in the for profit world who get hundreds of resumes a day. I guess what I am trying to say is that is a huge waste of time and resources in my opinion.

    By Anonymous christy (ben's intrest), at 6/15/2006 7:33 PM  

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