We’ve all had that moment of dread when we wake up to numerous notifications from Facebook telling us we’ve been tagged in some pictures from the night before. Hot footing it to the computer, ready to de-tag, you begin to wonder how many people have already seen it. It only takes a matter of minutes for things to go global, though I’m not saying a picture of you passed out on the sofa after a few too many alcoholic beverages will be a talking point between anyone but your friends, but what happens if your boss, or prospective boss were to see that picture? We’ve all heard stories from friends, or friends of friends, about colleagues getting in trouble for what has been posted on social media. Many companies now have strict policies on what you can and can’t say on social media platforms as you are now reflecting the company and not just yourself.
As soon as you put something online, it is there for all to see and you’ve got to take responsibility for it. Even if the comment you made was in jest, not everyone who sees it will take it that way. The best advice I’ve seen is to wait an hour before you tweet or post a status, especially one that could create a negative impact. That gives you some time to consider if it is really needed. Also, remember that if you are off sick from work, it is not wise to post about how drunk you got the night before or how much fun you’re having on a day out.
If you are one of the many people searching for a job it could be useful to go through your Facebook profile and Twitter timeline and delete anything that could put prospective employers off, for example photos that don’t showcase you at your best, or tweets that you probably shouldn’t have sent. It may also be useful to delete any negative comments, especially about companies. It’s a small world and you never know if the head of your company is good friends with the company you are moaning about. These two posts may be worth reading, ‘13 People Who Got Fired For Tweeting,’ and ‘17 People Who Got Fired For Using Facebook.’
With all that in mind though, social media can also help you in landing a job too. Creating a positive social media presence can make you more appealing to employers. Getting involved with companies that you may want to work for by communicating with them through social media is just like getting your name heard in a networking event. Don’t spam, but the more you comment on their statuses or reply to their tweets, they’ll start to recognise your name.
UPDATE! There is now a new app called FireMe! which flags tweets that could be seen negatively by employers and gives you a percentage on the likelihood of that tweet costing you your job.
Luckily, I appear to be safe; but how close are you to getting fired?