“While the comments or photos could have been bad enough to deserve the harsh repercussions, should employers or schools have the right to use our personal social media platforms as sufficient means for firings or rejections? The answer is usually no.”
After considering this question and the arguments laid out by Taylor Bloom in her article about Facebook beginning to replace resumes, I have come to a different answer: yes.
Bloom mentions how “individuals often have little control over their perceived Internet personalities” due to privacy settings not being straightforward.
I agree that privacy settings, especially on Facebook, are not as easy as they once were to maintain and have become increasingly more difficult to control.
However, I do not believe that individuals have to forfeit their personalities. If a friend posts a picture or status update and tags me in it, Facebook alerts me.
I can easily un-tag myself from the picture or status update. I even have the ability to hide the posts from my timeline or delete it from my timeline entirely.
Do I think it is easy to monitor everything that gets posted to Facebook that someone might include me in? No, we all have lives and cannot monitor Facebook all day, but we can — and should — still try.
Bloom also wrote about people altering the spelling of their names or using Photoshop to alter their photos. She argues that this is unfair to others and causes a bias.
I believe there is truth in those points and I agree with her.
Yet, should worry about what others are doing to mask who they are? If I was an employer and found out a prospective employee altered their name to hide from me, I would see that as having something to hide.
Would I really want to consider hiring someone intently trying to hide, or would I consider someone who is upfront about who they are? Public, open and honest is the safer bet.
The last point Bloom touched on is how we all face the pressure of trying to appear “cool” and often use social media as our personal PR campaigns. Again, I agree with her here, but would like to add a couple of thoughts:
Like Bloom, I do not think employers or colleges considering applicants should use our social media platforms to fully judge us. Some pictures, status updates and tweets can only tell someone so much.
With that being said, what are you trying to say when you post your pictures, status updates and tweets?
Are you more concerned with what that cute boy or girl from English 101 thinks of you, or are you more concerned with protecting your image?
Another USA TODAY College piece, by Daniel Horowitz, picks up on these points as well. And Daniel, I am not sure your Facebook is better than mine, but I agree with your main points.
I want to leave you with one important thought about social media: what you post is public, especially if you setup no security measures. Therefore, I do not think it is wrong for employers or colleges to look at your social media platforms to determine if they should hire or accept you.
Should you setup security measures?
I have some in place if we are not friends on Facebook. You can view my favorites, my about section, my profile picture and cover photo and some limited contact information.
This is enough to tell someone who I am. Want to learn more? Please, friend me.
Be who you are online and offline. Even if you are able to masquerade as someone you are not on your Facebook, if you get hired, the truth will eventually come out.
Be your best: be you.
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