Don’t Let Facebook Destroy Your Career
It seems like half the people I meet are on Facebook or one of a dozen other social networking sites. Some use it only for entertainment and connecting with friends. Others use it for business. And some combine the two.
That’s good – those sites help you connect with old friends and helps remind them of what you do. When you’re mentioning your business on Facebook now and then, your friends can’t hire someone else and then say “Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t realize you were in that business.”
That’s the up side. But there is a dark side. In fact, there are a few dark sides.
When you put so much of your personal information out there for the world to see, it’s also there for a thief to steal. This fact came home to me recently when my telephone was “slammed” by a third party business.
When I called to put a stop to it, the person from the 3rd party company said “But you signed up for this service.” No, I had not, but he read back all my information, just as if it had been me signing up for the service. The only thing he got wrong was my place of birth.
I don’t know if it was the company itself doing the slamming, or if was an affiliate hoping to earn income by assuming my identity to sign up for the service. Either way, it was an inconvenience to deal with getting it off my bill.
Next, competitors or those who do not wish you well can use the personal information they find about you to set up bogus websites that appear to be yours, but which present you in a bad light.
The most serious danger for most people, however, is the danger of posting the wrong thing on line – and hurting themselves!
People tend to forget that anyone in the world can see what they write on line. And if someone is interested in using your services – either as a freelancer or as a person to hire for a permanent position – they ARE looking on line for information about you.
Nasty comments about bosses or co-workers will come back to bite you. So will discussions about drugs or drinking – or meetings with someone else’s spouse. Don’t ever post anything that you don’t want bosses, co-workers, clients, parents, grandparents, children, friends, spouses, or the neighborhood gossip to know.
A real estate agent told of how she got a new listing recently. She knew she was one of two agents who were being interviewed and her appointment was first. So when she finished her presentation and the homeowner indicated that they would sign the listing, she was surprised. She said “I thought you had an appointment to meet with another agent this afternoon.” The wife spoke up and said “No, we canceled that. She’s an alcoholic.”
She probably wasn’t, but they had checked her out on Facebook and every photo she had posted showed her holding a drink in her hand and looking tipsy.
I don’t suppose one or two photos with a drink would have hurt her chances of being hired. But that agent should have included a few others to dilute the effect.
Remember – every word and every photo you place on the Internet is there for all to see – and it will probably still be there for your grand-children to see. So don’t say or do anything that will cost you your job, your friends, or your children’s respect.