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Be careful what you post to Facebook and Twitter

Published on Mon, Oct 3, 2011 by BY PAM STEVENS | MANAGING EDITOR

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I’ll admit, I was a late bloomer when it came to Facebook and I don’t even have a Twitter account yet—who knows when or even if that will happen, but I am now fully immersed inside the Facebook phenomenon.
“I’m Pam and I think I’m addicted to Facebook.”

When having a conversation with a friend a few months back regarding why we all need our daily Facebook fix, my friend said, “Facebook is narcissistic and voyeuristic.” That statement is both true and also a reflection of our society’s need to tell everyone every thought that crosses our mind. While at the time it may seem like the right thing to do, a little later we may have a different perspective.

Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy Facebook and the connection I feel to those who have been a part of my life. I love catching up with old friends and hearing about their kids—that’s the best part of Facebook!

My biggest concern is the not-well-thought out comments that are posted lam-blasting someone or bragging of wild nights or complaining about employers. These can come back to bite the writer. Pouring out secrets via the internet isn’t practical, smart or safe.

Many potential employers are using social networking sites to scope out future employees and even to check up on current employees.

Allen Stern of CenterNetworks posted a blog where he said, “Lately we’ve read reports about people losing their job or not receiving a job offer because of what they write about on their blog or post on one of the social networks.”

He goes on to say, “For some reason, many people have the idea that if they use a social network or other popular website they can say whatever they want. People feel that sites like Facebook are their playground. They can talk about their employer or former employer without any recourse. People are finding out that this is not true.”

Even colleges are stepping into the world of blog posts and social networks probing the web for information about college applicants.

Employers and colleges are looking for well-rounded, well-adjusted individuals and if they see profanity, racist remarks or even tales or photos of out-of-control drinking binges spewed about for all to see, many of these businesses will look for someone else.

Many argue that it is an invasion of privacy for companies to look at social networking sites, blogs or even YouTube before hiring potential employees but really, how is it different from doing background and credit checks? The biggest difference is that the information is more readily available.

I’m happy to report that the largest majority of my Facebook friends are ethical, well-spoken individuals. Only once or twice have I been embarrassed by something one of them posted. Hallelujah for the delete option!

The lesson is that social media, blogs and YouTube can be fun, entertaining and a great way to connect with people on a consistent basis. But be careful what you say, it could cost you a job someday!

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