Social media has been a fact of many people’s lives for at least 5 years now. For many on the younger end of the age spectrum it’s been more like 10 years. Social channels have gone from being something one did with a generally small circle of real life friends to being a central communications tool in many users’ lives. We’ve morphed from “what ever happened to…” into way too much information about people who are only marginally important to us.
One group of people who have learned to use social media exceptionally well in hiring are prospective employers and recruiters. Unfortunately, what they often find does way more harm than good. What’s funny and cute to your frat bothers can seem juvenile to anyone looking for a candidate they can groom for the next few years.
Maybe they’re wising up, however. According to a new survey from FindLaw.com, the legal information website, more than a quarter of young social media users think that something they posted could come back to haunt them.
The survey found that 29 percent of users of Facebook and other social media between the ages of 18 and 34 have posted a photo, comment or other personal information that they fear could someday either cause a prospective employer to turn them down for a job, or a current employer to fire them if they were to see it. The survey covered Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr and other popular social media.
A form of “day-after remorse” seems to be evident. Close to the same percentage of young social media users – 21 percent – say that they have removed or taken down a photo or other social media posting because they feared it could lead to repercussions with an employer.
Users are taking other precautions as well. The same survey found that 82 percent of young social media users say that they pay at least some attention to their privacy settings. Only six percent said that they pay no attention and only use the default settings when using social media.
We all know what can happen when businesses and brands aren’t careful about what they post. Your personal brand needs to be handled the same way. Assume everything you post will be seen (in the worst possible light, by the way) by prospective employers as well as your current boss. Learn about your privacy settings and change them. If you’d be embarrassed for your mom to see something, it probably doesn’t belong in a place where she can find it.