Social Networking sites Prove Toxic to the Professional World

by: Jack Rawlings

Caution: real world ahead.

When I am asked if I have a Twitter or Facebook account my reply is, “if you want to know about me just come ask.”

Social media sites have taken a toll on personal interaction.

I blame it for being the root cause of fallen professionals because, like most things developed with good intentions, they can also make you your own worst enemy.

Not to sound cliché, but I look at it this way.

Do not crap in your own backyard because, with the help of the internet, your backyard can now extend worldwide.

It does not matter who posted the event online or why, because very quickly rumors fly, trust is lost, friendships our ruined and sometimes more than that.

I once tried to create a Facebook account and did not like the personal questions asked just to get the account started, so it did not happen.

I am not advocating against social media and by no means am I a hermit or isolationist, I just do not care to be an open book to the rest of the world.

It would be more impressive if you walked up to me, handed me a business card, shook my hand and introduced yourself.

That effort of personal contact is disappearing.

With the exception of applying directly for specialized government contract work, I have never gotten a job by posting a resume online.

When I got back from a contract job during the fall semester of 2012, I struggled to find employment.

Finally, I created some business cards, introduced myself, shook a few hands and I started earning an income.

I decide what I want to share about myself and how I want to share it.

I am not boring, I like to have fun, and I am far from a Saint.

Through it all, I have learned responsibility from watching the mistakes of others and realizing that could have easily been me making those mistakes.

As easy as it is to immediately disqualify ourselves from job opportunities, it is just as easy to avoid adding things to that list.

On more than one occasion, an opportunity was lost just because of my tattoos.

I knew I was out of the running the moment a company agent took a picture of them.

Maybe I should have inked a unicorn or a love mom heart.

Instead I took a harder approach of showing some of my life story, and I will not remove them.

I knew the consequences of getting tattoos and accepted them.

Things on the internet may not be so easily removed and the consequences can be a result of a person being employed today and gone tomorrow.

If a potential employer requires you give them access to your account, are you truly willing to accept those consequences?

I have worked for a company that discouraged social media accounts due to the nature of business conducted.

Still, there was a situation when a person was fired because they posted pictures of themselves in an area where cameras are strictly prohibited.

That little need of being seen someplace important cost that person a six-digit salary job, not to mention the question of trust for future jobs.

I can give lots of examples where “professionals” have gotten in a bind by what they shared on a social media site.

If I may borrow Andrew Clay’s thinking, believe me, the man is watching whether we like it or not. Andrew couldn’t be more right and if you think the system is fair, then the joke is on you.

It may seem innocent to you and your friends, but when you are sitting in front of a multiple person review board, wanting a job, that moment posted online may not be so appealing to them.

There is no such thing as an unintentional posting.


Related posts