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Facebook: Not Just for Friends Anymore (Part 1 of 6) February 2, 2010

Posted by friedgreenbananafish in Facebook.
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Imagine yourself at a job interview: you’re wearing your best suit, a gleaming resume is in your hand, and you have rehearsed the answer to every question imaginable. 

You’re very nervous as you step into the employer’s office, but eventually you begin to relax, and you do your best to answer everything intelligently.  The employer listens to you intently and smiles, and when it’s finally over, you take a deep breath in the lobby and think back to how you did.  

Let’s see…  You dressed the part;  you have all the credentials; you were polite and witty; and your references are outstanding — looks like you got the job, right?  

Wrong.  A few days later, you open your mail and find a form letter “regretting” to inform you that you have not been hired.  What happened?  You think about what you might have done wrong all day, even as you hop online to check your email…  And suddenly, your answer reveals itself in one of the subject lines:

Your friend tagged photos of you on Facebook…”

And there you are, doing… well, you know what.  You’ve heard rumors about people not getting jobs because of photos on the internet, but you never thought it could happen to you — your profile is just something silly between you and your friends… isn’t it?   But the truth of the matter is this: 

Anything you post on a social networking site like Facebook or MySpace can be accessed by potential employers and may be detrimental to your work now and in the future.

You may argue that the information you post online is personal; it has nothing to do with your career, and employers shouldn’t be using it to judge you.  You may even argue that this “virtual snooping” is unethical — an invasion of privacy.  But in today’s competitive job market, employers are using all the tools in their arsenal to screen out unsuitable candidates.  They have to if they want to see how their companies will be represented outside the office.  

And while what they’re doing may be questionable, it’s certainly not illegal.  As soon as something is put on the internet, it is public property.  

“You’re being watched,” says Victor C. Massaglia, career adviser at the University of Minnesota Law School. “The diary used to be behind the lock and key, and now it is on the Internet for everyone to read.” 

To be continued…



1. Another Day On Facebook - February 2, 2010

Geeze this is so true and I was just thinking about this. I will def add you to my blog watch list because I want to see what else you are going to post.

I am wondering whether Facebook even cares about this or will even advocate the rights of its users.

Another Day On Facebook

friedgreenbananafish - February 2, 2010

Thank you so much for your comment! You bring up a good point – who should be responsible for this harm to one’s reputation? Should Facebook take some of the blame, or should we be educating young internet users against this type of behavior? Has it become such a widespread problem that employers will “soften” their critical gaze, or are the majority of social networkers in for a nasty surprise when they get into the job market?

Hopefully, as I continue posting installments, I can get some feedback on what others think about these issues. Once again, thanks for reading!

Another Day On Facebook - February 2, 2010

No problem I am interested in this topic as well. (So much so that I plan to have a video blog post up by next week on it)

I think two things will happen.

1. Services will rise up to fill the gap of privacy. Either a new social network or an add on or even an extension of social networks and the sorts

2. People will wise up about posting pictures. We have to realize that the users, and Facebook, of the internet are young. With age comes wisdom and when that wisdom hits I think the outlandish behavior being posted online will decline.

friedgreenbananafish - February 3, 2010

I think you have two very good points there; we’ve already seen a few examples of these already.

For instance, your theory about a new social networking site taking over reminds me of what has already happened to Myspace. In 2003, it was the only social networking site we knew about – and we all wanted one. But, after we started getting spammed with friend requests from garage bands and wannabe starlets, (along with glitzy profiles that took too long to load) there was a mass exodus to the lesser-known (at that time) Facebook. It’s quite a real possibility that if Facebook angers its users with its stance on privacy issues, we could see e-history repeat itself.

Also, I agree with you that most people are getting a little smarter in what pictures they post on the site. In the next few installments, I’ll talk about how business people and CEOs are using Facebook to get ahead in the market, and a few little tricks on how to protect your online privacy.

I look forward to seeing your video!

2. Another Day On Facebook - February 4, 2010

Argh I am so glad I found your blog hahahah.

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