I recently got into a very interesting conversation with my mom that stemmed from my cousin deactivating her facebook account while looking for a new job. Most people look at social media as a way to stay connected, to network (linked in!), and to update others on what is going on in their own lives. It is viewed as a pretty harmless means of communication and sharing, but is that really the case?
When looking for a new job my cousin decided to deactivate her facebook account, this was not because she had anything to hide, but because she did not want it to be able to be used against her. Today future employers can learn a lot about “you” from your social media accounts simply by searching your name. I personally am very careful about what I put on facebook, no swearing, nothing inappropriate, etc. because I know how easy it is for others to see everything I say. Something I might tweet when I am upset can come back to haunt me years later, my mom asked the question, is this fair?
I had never questioned this before. I had accepted that with the advancement of technology and social media, I just had to be really cautious, careful, because my future employers could see it. But my mom asked if this was fair. She pointed out that social life and work life are supposed to be separate. My mom pointed out that yes, this technology was not around when she was applying for jobs, but even if it was, how is it fair that something you post on facebook could count against you?
I feel that she is right. my social life is not my professional life, they are separate. And my social life will not get in the way of my professional life. When I am at work, I am at work, what I do in my spare time does not have anything to do with what I do at work. So is it fair that employers can look at my social media and factor it into their decision? Once again, I am not fearful, nor do I have things to hide, but should my out of work life be a factor in my being able to get a job? I do not think it should. Unfair biases can be formed by a simple facebook or twitter search. My resume, cover letter, and interview, that is all that should determine my job status, not a picture or like or tweet.