Internet Presence and How It Can Affect Us

Feb 10, 2012

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I was watching “How I Met Your Mother” once and I noticed that one story arc was based on something very real.  The character Marshall was going for a job he really wanted and was told if he passed the background check then he was in.  So he googled, binged or yahooed himself and found a video online from his college days, drunk and streaking.

In this age of social media sites or virtual communities’ people are sharing everything.   Pictures of their night out this last weekend or a trip to Cabo for vacation posted to Facebook. Video of the funniest things they did while at Mardi Gras posted to Youtube.  All the twits and tweets they did commenting on people, places and things while touring Disneyworld.   There is Livejournal, Tumblr and MySpace they don’t get as much press these days but they exist and get postings.   Multiply this by all your friends and family and there can be quite a listing under your googled, binged or yahooed name.   The question is how will prospective employers, grant givers or just folks you are trying to impress look at these pictures, videos or tweets?

There are things to consider before posting. Do the pictures contain any alcohol, rude gestures, nudity, fighting?    All of these things can raise a red flag to prospective employers.  Facebook now has face recognition so they don’t have to have your consent to tag you in a photo that has been posted.   So if you decided you really wanted those beads at Mardi Gras and exposed something to get them, then every girl/guy in your vicinity probably has their phone at the ready to post to their fave social media site.  Also…when posting your status on Facebook if it’s something you would not want your mother to read then you probably shouldn’t post it.   Youtube is a free forum to post a video and caption it with anything.  So if a frenemy of yours finds a treasure trove of videos of everyone “just having fun” …you can see where this can end badly.  Twitter is a fun way to connect on a daily sometimes hourly basis with your followers or people you are following.  Be careful on what you tweet. Once you hit tweet it’s on the internet and cannot be unsaid or un-tweeted.  If you are feeling judgmental that day and tweet what you consider sarcastic and funny about someone or something it can be considered hateful, rude or condescending which does not reflect well on your character.    These can seem inconsequential when looking at just one but combined it can lead to a not so flattering picture of a person.  Those higher ups that you are trying to impress may think twice about your application.

Best rule of thumb when posting to social media sites is to constantly consider “What type of person do I want my internet presence to be?”  

I work for ContentWatch and all opinions expressed here are my own.