Monday, August 1, 2011

He Knows When You've Been Bad or Good...

     Remember as kids...the imminent threat of disaster looming overhead in the guise of Santa Claus?  Remember?  "He knows when you've been naughty...he knows when you've been nice..."  Well, Santa Claus still knows these things...only now, he's checking ALL of your social media and business social media postings!
     More and more prospective employers are conducting social media background checks.  What are they looking at?  Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, Twitter - anywhere that you might have committed an unpardonable act of expression.  What are they looking for?  Racist comments...displays of drug use..displays of behavior that are not compatible with daily business life.  You used to have to only worry about the face to face, a much more focused picture of you can come via your social media postings.
     But wait, you say, that's an invasion of my privacy!  Nope.  The Federal Trade Commission has ruled that companies researching your background of personal time, hobbies, etc. DO NOT violate your privacy.  Here's a fact you may not know:  there's an outfit out there called Social Intelligence.  It searches the Internet for pictures, comments and other information that you freely give to the world.  And then it sells that info to prospective employers.
     But don't worry too much  (you AREN'T worrying, are you?) There's another company called Reputation.Com that may help you present a better image to the world.  This blog does not endorse this action; it's merely here as information.
     So what can you do?  Well, for starters, don't be stupid.  And if that bit of advice has to be explained to you, then you are probably beyond help.  In the meantime, keep a sharp eye on what's out there.  Monitor your Facebook, your Twitter accounts closely.  Check your privacy settings.  Delete things that may be detrimental to your professional life.
    And - yes, this IS a blog about business social media.  So maybe you already have a job while you are reading this.  Everything above goes TRIPLE for you.  Any posting you make, reflects not only on you, but your employer.  And maybe your employer doesn't subscribe to the same views you have.   Advocating anarchy while working for the CIA is usually a good way to get fired.  Get the picture?
     For you literati out there, remember George Orwell's 1984.  Big Brother is watching you.
     For those who prefer a simpler reminder of the same message, well..."he knows when you've been bad or good, so be good for goodness' sake...."