Are you constantly posting updates on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace or FriendFeed so that your friends and colleagues know what you’re up to and what cool activities you’ve been doing lately? Do you ever consider that some of these updates can cost you your job? It’s already happening to numerous social networking enthusiasts.
Many of your postings on these social networking websites can act as the proverbial boomerang and cause you unforeseeable damage. Hiring companies and professional investigators routinely comb through social networking websites to gauge the nature of activities carried out by job candidates, and even existing employees.
Ever since the Internet started being used in the offices managements all over the world defined ways to make sure employees didn’t use the net simply to chat, exchange personal emails or visit objectionable websites. This could be easily accomplished within the office premises, but they had no control over their employees’ online activities outside of their offices. This changed after the onset of social media and networking websites. A mere glance over a compilation of your social networking activities can give lots of information to your current and future employees.
Having active and vibrant profiles at social networking websites is perfectly normal these days. The problem manifests when you start showing traits that don’t find favor with your current or future employees, like, bitching about your job, making derogatory remarks about your seniors, colleagues, or even people in general, posting lewd content, gossiping about people behind their backs, posting sensitive company information, boasting about how you made a fool of your previous employee and posting racial slurs. In some cases even your political and religious beliefs can get you in trouble, but these are extreme cases.
You can say your social networking activities pretty much define your philosophy and attitude and whatever you post, most of it, is publically, easily available, to whoever makes enough effort to get it.
So do I mean to say you shouldn’t post much on social networking websites? No. Social networking websites are a great way of keeping in touch with your friends and sharing useful and interesting news and information with them. Just be aware that anybody can access the content you post on social networking websites. Treat social networking conversations as real-world conversations: don’t say things about people you don’t want people to say about you. Don’t make postings recklessly; they might have far-reaching implications.
In other words…”don’t say or write anything you would not want written on the front page of the New York Times” because it just might end up there.