15 min of fame … or infamy

June 15, 2008 at 4:23 pm | Posted in Professional Development | 2 Comments
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In a recent comment, the scrappy email marketer was summarizing an “email insider” panel discussion and said:

Specifically, they [panel members] don’t want their boss and others in the professional world seeing their personal profile on Facebook.

Nice wish, but thus far anyway, it’s proving to be difficult to attain in reality. First, as noted here, the “old timers” are moving into the realm of the “younglings” when it comes to college admissions. Moreover, once in college, some students have been punished or expelled due to their social networking activities. Yet even though it’s been going on for a while (here’s a case over two years old), some folks still don’t think about just how public their social networks can become. Last year I talked to two college coaches who said they passed on kids for full athletic scholarships because they saw severe attitude problems on their social networks.

Adults find themselves in the same boat sometimes. Remember this story of the mayor who was asked to resign because of her pictures she posted on MySpace? So it’s not limited to kids.

I can remember when my players would ask me about getting a tattoo, or gold tooth, or something that might carry a negative image to some. I would tell them that they need to be true to themselves, but also needed to understand that people’s perceptions are hard to control and they may have to deal with some negative ones. I wasn’t telling them not to; rather, I was just trying to prepare them for reality.

So, the controversy continues. Stay out of my space (or my facebook!) when it comes to personal online activity? … or … Don’t post stupid things on your pages that you don’t want your employer (or fellow workers) to see? I imagine there’s a wide spectrum of passionate feelings on this one. Wherever one lands on the issue, I at least think it’s very important to think about as social networking becomes more and more mainstream.



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  1. While the current employer may tolerate your online persona as they know the person behind the web page, new employers have much less substance to evaluate. I have hired a lot of people over the years, can’t remember the last time I hired one without “Googling” them first. Anyone who thinks they won’t be Googled is out of touch. For me:

    – Having a web presence is a positive.
    – Having a presence focused on the skills that I am hiring them for helps a lot
    – Having some form of web presence that gives me a glimpse of their personality is good. (In fact understanding your personality before we meet helps because I can start to “get them” a little before we even sit down for the first time.)
    – Finding derogatory, poor taste or worse content and it is usually game over

    Sure all we still do all the other normal interview processes, but reviewing someone’s online “personality” is one of those steps. Importantly, keep in mind the internet doesn’t forget, as this link from 2000 shows http://web.archive.org/web/20000830085144/http://www.sqlserver.co.nz/

  2. Excellent reminder about the longevity of information put on the web. Thanks for the comment, Tony.

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