Thanks to social media, our lives will never be the same again. Ten years ago, no one knew what the phrase “social media” was, let alone how it would impact our lives. So with the growth of social media came the growth of people saying whatever popped into their heads at a moment's notice. No one thought about what they typed, they just typed it and sent it out there into cyberspace, hoping that they would get someone's attention. Well, it worked. They not only got attention, they have now gotten themselves into a dilemma. In other words, people are getting into trouble at a record-setting pace just by what they post on Facebook and Twitter.
In some studies it is suggested that more than 80% look at a prospective employee’s social media accounts before making a final hiring decision. Which means that the line drawn between either getting the job or not getting the job can all come down to what you post or tweet.
One applicant found himself out of the running for the job he applied for because after he joined the group, “I shouldn't have to press one for English,” on Facebook, his would-be employer branded him as a racist. Another Facebook story is a man who was tagged as someone with, “the potential for violent behavior” because there was a picture of him holding a gun.
A 22-year-old North Carolina waitress blasted two customers over Facebook for stiffing her on the tip and keeping her late. She also took the time to mention her workplace by name. She was fired for breaking a rule about disparaging customers.
And that is not the only thing that can go wrong while using social media.
There was a person who was looking for work who was flagged for “illegal activity” after putting an advertisement on Craigslist looking for the drug Oxycontin.
Then there was a woman who had been living off of disability insurance for depression since 2008. But when the Canadian insurance company making the payments, got into her Facebook page, they saw her "relaxing at the beach, hanging out at a Chippendale's-style club, and generally having a lot of fun." She immediately lost her insurance benefits.
The only one that has the power on your profile or your page is you. Its a sure thing that people who have gotten fired, not recruited or even hired didn't think their social media sites would be the reason, but it seems to be the trend. Nobody thinks before their tweet or post- they just tweet and post.
Then there were stories brewing that would-be employers are asking potential employee's for their emails/passwords combos to their social networking sites.
I just love the hypocrisy of people today.
On one hand you have people who cry that their privacy is being compromised due to Google and due to their online activity, while on the other hand these same people are posting/tweeting information that they shouldn't. You can't claim you are a victim when you are the one putting yourself out there.
These people cry foul but yet haven't changed their online behaviours. So to protect all, and some from themselves, this is why I am wanting the government to create laws that would allow employers the right to look at potential employees’ (as well as their staff they have now) social media sites. Since there are no true boundary lines drawn as of yet on these social media sites, there are always going to be situations that people and even professionals are going to find themselves in. If we can cut down on the negative uses and abuses of social media we can then start to use social media for what its pure intention is: to network, keep in touch with friends and family, as well as meet new people. The only way we can curb the negatives, such as cyber bullying and just plain stupidity is to force people to think before they post or tweet since our employer's will be checking in on us from time to time. Cyber bullying would be a thing of the past instead of our future.
The thing that people don't realize is that what you post or tweet most certainly reflects your employer, your friends and your family.
Not only are we “outraged” about employers wanting our email/password combos But recently there has become a new trend called Facebook parenting. First there was Tom Jordan, the dad who shot his daughter's laptop after she disrespected her dad and mom on Facebook. And now there is a mom, Denise Abbott, and her “creative” way of teaching her daughter a lesson when she replaced her daughter's profile picture with a photo of the girl with a red X superimposed over her mouth, and the text, "I do not know how to keep my mouth shout... I am not longer allowed on Facebook or my phone. Please ask why, my mom says I have to answer everyone that asks."
I guess this mother wants her daughter to be bullied, because she just set her up. Not only that, it just shows how parents today really don't know how to parent. Not only are they so consumed with their own worlds, but parents are so afraid to discipline their children because they want to be “friends” with them on and off social media.
Social media has in turn made everyone lose their common sense, manners, and we somehow have forgotten how to respect each other’s opinion.
The best advice I can give everyone is this: If you aren’t going to say exactly what you are typing in public or to someone’s face, don't post it or tweet it. Dirty laundry belongs in a basket, not posted on the Internet. Just because it pops into your head doesn't mean you need to post it.
It’s really that simple. Or is it?
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Stephanie Dolce is a life long resident of Rockland County NY and has written three books on how social media has changed our lives. Her latest book, “Victim No More,” which is to be released this summer, tells the true story of how social media has turned our life upside down, tips for parents on how to help curb cyber bullying, and sheds some light as to how social media is really viewed by companies & professionals. She is also the founder of Strike Out Bullying.
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