Monday, November 30, 2009

Don't Drink and Facebook

Two conversations I had yesterday compelled me to write this post today.  One I had on Facebook itself with an acquaintance of mine who very eloquently pointed out the complete shallowness of some guys who pretend to be sweet and sensitive by posting status updates that reflect some movie or emotion that are supposed to be endearing to the female crowd but obviously are completely shallow and are no different than the pickup line at a bar, “Can I buy you a beer?”. 

The second conversation was involving shameless posts where the user supposedly feels empowered by posting something that he or she would never be able to say to someone’s face.  In other words, one’s inhibitions are let down as a result of not having a physical face in front of them.  However you want to word it, to me it’s Drinking and FacebookLisa Trosien posted a good article from the Los Angeles Times on twitter last night that I wanted to share that elaborates a little further.  Here are key points to remember before you decide to post something.

Potential and existing employers are monitoring social media posts and using them for or against their employees.  Some employers are asking for login addresses for Social Media sites you may be using.  We can only expect this trend to continue when it is very easy just to Google your name and see what comes up in the search engines. 

We are professionals 24/7.  Keep me in mind celebrity goof ups that were highly publicized.  One minute you look at them with respect and dignity and the next it’s all gone as a result of a misplaced word, photo or action.  It is no different with us.  Many people would agree that at the top of our list of the most important things in life would be our career and our reputation.  Why wouldn’t you want to be extra careful with what you post since these important items are at stake?

Don’t burn any bridges.  Stop thinking of the now and think of the future.  Stop and think about what you post.  It takes a lifetime in some ways to build up a good professional reputation and can take mere seconds to see all of that disappear.  One of the purposes of Social Media is to build relationships, not tear them down.  You never know who or when you will be interacting with any given individual in the future.   

The multifamily industry and many others are working feverishly to understand and properly implement Social Media tools such as Facebook.  Just remember how embarrassing it was in school when you were caught passing notes during class time and the teacher caught you and read it out in front of the whole class.  It’s no different with what you post on Social Media sites, except the consequences can be much greater.  Don’t Drink and Facebook.  I hope you get the analogy.  Letting your inhibitions and guard down can lead to a serious blow to your reputation and career. 

I really think this is a subject that merits serious concern.  What have you been doing professionally to monitor and check yourself?  Do you feel it’s important to know what social sites your employees are on?  Do you have any actual examples where you have seen inappropriate posts and how have you dealt with it? 

Written by Jonathan Saar- The Training Factor


  1. I once didn't hire a person because of the 'crowd' she hung out with on Facebook. When she applied for the position, I looked her up online and her profile was visible. The stuff on her wall was enough to make me shake my head and I moved on to the next prospect.

  2. I worry a lot about where we're headed where our personal lives - which may or may not affect our professional abilities - can be used against us in workplace decisions. Still, knowing that this can and does happen, I take care to separate my professional and personal profiles, protecting my personal information as much as possible. My personal tweets are private and protected, my personal Facebook account is private and removed from the search database ... I do worry a bit about my blogging activity, but hope that as long as I stay away from blogging about work, I should be all right.

    Still, it seems wrong to me that we can be judged for who we are as people if it doesn't matter a whit to our ability to conduct business, and it seems to me like one more way to police already-marginalized identities. It's one thing to say "Well it's your own fault for putting it out there," but in a lot of ways that's simply blaming the victim - and it doesn't sit well with me.

  3. I agree with what Charity stated above. The inappropriate behavior on social media sites among young professionals is mind blowing. Of course your college days are fun and at times wild, but what you publicize or share with the free world to see is another. Many of these young professionals or recent graduates are out searching for employment, but what they may be forgetting is those employers are out searching them before they are called in for an interview! Think twice before posting photos or status updates as they could come back to haunt you

  4. Thanks everyone for comments
    @Charity- Thanks for the real life example. Those testimonials are important.
    @Sara- I appreciate your concerns. Hopefully employers will demonstrate some balance with this. I myself am worried about the flagrant without a passing thought posters who can really hurt themselves.
    @Kim Thanks for your comments-I am glad you agree with my message. Think twice!!