Karen Lomas
March 8, 2015

Watch what you Post!

The angry mob has gone viral, and sometimes with dire consequences for those sentenced to public shaming.

The message in this blog needs shouting out, preferably with loud speaker, or fog horn, to everyone with an online presence. That’s you.

Watch what you post, or it might ruin your career!

In the 1980s and ’90s, a recruiter would rely 100% upon the written resume, and the testimony of referees, for information on job candidates. There were no social media sites available for the purposes of a background check. It was not until a candidate turned up for an interview that I would have any idea, in my work as employer/recruiter, what they looked like, whether or not they were into clubbing (hardly going to put that on your resume!) or whether they had a myriad of piercings along the length of each earlobe.

Today, time can be saved by time-poor employers, by checking Facebook pages and Twitter posts. Believe me when I say that recruiters will hop onto social media quick fast, to check your ‘credentials’, these being: the things you do and places you frequent; the comments you make about the behaviour of others; your language; your attire, or any evidence of tattos (sorry, but unfortunately for some recruiters, tats are a no-no). It might seem like ‘stalking’ but, like it or not, you cannot prevent such background checking, so watch what you post, or it could ruin your career!

Jon Ronson was recently interviewed on ABC Radio National’s Life Matters program. In his latest book, ‘So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed’, Ronson tells stories of public shaming and the ruination of careers. One example is of Justine Sacco, a PR Executive, who lost her job, received death threats and tens of thousands of ugly tweets in response to her racist Twitter posts. Ronson argues that we have created an online “surveillance society for ourselves”, that even nice people join in, saying brittle stuff in response to what we read, and enjoying sharing the careless posts of others, for our entertainment.

And if you think there are ways of getting rid of the embarrassing stuff, it seems that European efforts to protect the right of individuals to be hidden, by means of de-indexing of your content, is being circumvented by the fact that Google has not entirely complied with the ruling on all versions of its search engine. So it may be that once you press Send/Share, it’s out there for eternity.

So, think carefully about your online content.

Before you hit Post, think:

Is someone going to be offended?

Is someone going to be disappointed?

Might this be misunderstood?

Is my boss/prospective employer likely to see this?

Is what’s up there for all to see going to put my chances of getting that interview at risk?

There’s an old adage, think it was something my mum used to say, that always serves you well when you are about to launch into some uncharted, slightly risque territory; if in doubt don’t. It might just bite you in the bum. Actually, I just made up that last bit.


Image: The angry mob has gone viral, and sometimes with dire consequences for those sentenced to public shaming.






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