February 13, 2013

Dear Freshmen: Social media and your boss

When you’re considering future employment, remember friends aren’t the only people who can view your online profile.

By Tyler Mercer– 

Almost every person in college has both a Facebook and Twitter account. For those of you who don’t have one or the other, or both: congratulations. Your dedication is amazing, and I simply can’t comprehend it. The rest of us are weak, though, and we can’t go without almost constant contact with everyone we know and quite a few people we’ve never met (other than via Facebook).

Social media is arguably one of the greatest things to come from our generation. Not the greatest, obviously, but still pretty awesome. Before social media, we had to resort to actually sitting down, face-to-face with everyone we know and talking. Seriously, if we wanted to maintain healthy relationships with everyone, we would have to make time to sit down with them and chit chat.

True, we have the resources to call or text most of our friends, but making time to sit on the phone for an hour takes a lot of time management skills. I do not know about all of you, but my time management skills are pretty much absent. It is much easier for me to just look someone up on Facebook and see what they’ve been up to. If it is someone from your old high school, you can see where they’re working, where they go to school and even if they’re getting married. That last one sounds scary, but a lot of people from my graduating class are parents, married or pregnant.

It’s so easy to upload a picture of you and your friends to Facebook or Twitter and let all of your cyber friends see the picture and know that you’re enjoying your life. Unfortunately, there will be pictures that are a little less than professional that will make their way onto your various profiles to sit and be judged by any and everyone who comes along.

Think about your own profile. How many pictures are there of you from that Halloween party last semester? Do you even look alive in them? What about last summer at that bonfire? I bet you and your friends had a good laugh at how ridiculous you look in the picture because it was after midnight, and even though none of you are 21, you were still having some fun.

That’s all fine and great, but your friends aren’t the only people who can see your profile. No, I’m not talking about parents, although sometimes that is a scary thought as well. I’m talking about your future employers. With our generation, more and more employers are checking out, Facebook and Twitter profiles to see what they can find out that was left off your resume. I do not know about all of you, but I have already deleted one Twitter profile because it got a little out of hand.

No one wants to go through their Facebook and Twitter profiles and untag all those embarrassing pictures or delete those, let’s say, late night tweets. So here’s the solution: your Twitter? Put it on private. I know that sounds like a hassle, but if there are things on there that could prevent you from landing a job, I’d say it’s worth it.

With Facebook, you have a lot of options for privacy. I personally have my Facebook set up so that any time someone tags me in something I have to approve it before it gets posted to my profile. It’s really helpful because my mom, aunts and sisters are all my Facebook friends, and some things just aren’t suitable for their eyes.

You can also set up groups for your status updates and posts. Everyone I know through my parents, my family and just older people on my profile are all in a group that I have custom built. These people are limited on what they can see on my profile. They can’t see pictures I’m tagged in, because come on, that would just be stupid. If I post a status that is a little off color, I set it so they don’t see it.

It’s just a safe thing to do now. With the threat of not getting employed because of a stupid tweet or tagged photo, I’m willing to do whatever it takes to keep those items hidden, and you should be too.

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Photo courtesy of gceguitars.blogspot.com

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