Should Social Media Affect Your Employment Status?Should social media affect your employment status? Calling this topic “controversial” is, at best, putting it lightly. How many stories have we seen about people being fired because of what they post on Facebook? How many stories have we seen about a potential employee’s privacy being “invaded” because his or her employer-to-be asked for their Twitter password as part of the interview process? No matter how many stories there are about it, one thing is clear: this stuff happens! Sure, it happens, but we need to ask ourselves why.

Truthfully, the answer to the question of “why” is pretty simple. Every single detail about you is contained in social media. I can find any stranger’s Facebook timeline and discover everything I need to know about that person within minutes. This runs deeper than the simple fact of their date of birth or who their spouse may be. I would be able to discover if they like to party, their political views, their favorite brand of beer, their sexual orientation (which does matter in some states), and much more.

The Situation

Imagine that you are an employer and you spent two hours of your day interviewing Nancy for the new secretary position. Nancy’s resume is fantastic, she blew the interview out of the water, and her personality makes her extremely easy to get along with in the office. After the interview, there is no doubt in your mind that she is the right person for the job. What if you went home, found her Facebook timeline, and read things like “Oh no! This makes the sixth time in three months that I’m late for work!” or “Where the heck did I stick that folder for today’s meeting?” Would that change your mind? I’m sorry Nancy, but you wouldn’t be my secretary.

Is There a Real Problem?

Many of you may be thinking something like, “Dang! Nancy just got cheated out of a job, man!” Did she really get cheated, though? I see a major problem here, but it’s not with the employer; it’s with Nancy.

Honestly, Nancy would have gotten that job if she hadn’t posted everything about her life on Facebook, but the problem could run deeper than her admitting to being late or misplacing a few papers. Nancy is also the kind of person who likes to publicly bash her former boss and coworkers. In fact, Nancy was bullhorning about those people while she was employed there. Did she do this face to face? No, of course not. She did it over Facebook.

What could the problem with this be? Well, like I said, the bashing was public. Bad mouthing on Facebook is the equivalent to shouting the same profanities on the street. For some reason people feel like they can say anything and everything when they are staring at their computer screen and their fingers are flying over the keyboard. People feel more protected than usual when sitting in their computer chair, but that is actually the most vulnerable place to be.

How Not to Be a Nancy

How can you protect yourselves from Nancy’s fate of waiting in the unemployment line? Should you just delete your Facebook profile and forget about connecting with your friends? Nah, that’s too harsh. What you can do is think before you post! It’s as simple as that. Keep in mind that when you post something on Facebook that you should be able to say the exact same things as if you were standing in front of someone. I beg of you, don’t be a Nancy.

So you’ve read all of that, but I’ve still left the question unanswered. Should social media affect your employment status? I’ll leave that up to you.

I’m Jared Moats. I’ve always asked myself what I may be able to change in this world. Realistically, I probably can’t change much, but what little bit I do change is worth my entire effort. I hope that my writing will accomplish that goal.

Image: pkevinconnell