With the introduction of social networking sites such as MySpace, Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin, plus with us posting to our blogs; what we feel, what we think, what sites we link to and what we believe, is no longer being viewed by just a select few but possibly by “private eye” type companies hired by potential future employers, or even our current employer, to spy on us.
Although Google and Facebook are usually the spots where potential employers or clients look for information about us, if a professional social networking surveillance company is hired, no stone goes unturned.
Take, for example, Social Intelligence Corp (a division of RivData), who describe what they do as follows:
Social Intelligence Corp solely generates reports based on employer pre-defined criteria, both positive and negative. Negative examples include racist remarks or activities, sexually explicit photos or videos, and illegal activity such as drug use. Positive examples include charitable or volunteer efforts, participation in industry blogs, and external recognition.
Companies like this will find all of our blog posts, comments we left on other blogs, links we like, tweets on Twitter and posts on Facebook. Although we can delete some of the derogatory statements/photographs, if we’re in the job pool/market now, it may be too late.
Knowing this is happening can raise fear in bloggers. In fact, we may become so fearful, we either don’t start a blog or if we do, we become blogging sheeple, never expressing our true beliefs, but instead “playing nice” and acting like we don’t have a backbone. If it appears we don’t have an opinion or are wishy-washy on most topics, that could be construed to mean we cannot make decisions. Even small ones.
On the other hand, if we’re outspoken and share views that go against what a potential employer or client is looking for, would we be a good match for them anyway? And…would we even want to work for a company/client who isn’t accepting of opposing views?
I know some of you will say, “I’ll just blog/tweet/Facebook and use a pseudonym (fake name). That way I can say whatever I want”. In actuality that could hurt us. In the event our goal is to build up a clientele or develop a digital footprint which will benefit us in the future, all of the work we’ve done using the pseudonym could be wasted. Plus, not showing any online activity could appear suspicious.
Building a digital footprint and being aware of the breadcrumbs we leave on the world wide web can be daunting, however if done right, it could lead to great success and/or that dream job.
What say you?
If your online activity was investigated, how would you score?
Based on your digital footprint, if you were in the market for an assistant, would you hire you?
Care to share?
For links to other posts on this topic, check out:
- Do You Pass the Social Media Recruitment Test? (Mashable)
- Social Media and Employment Law: Six Things You Need To Know (Monster Thinking)
- Yes, Virginia, HR Execs Check Your Facebook Page (Gigaom)
- Pre-employment Social Media Screening Deemed Legal, posted on Reppler, which is,
…a social media monitoring service designed to keep your social reputation clean and safe.
Photo Credit: Felipe Venâncio