For most of us, social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter are as much a part of our lives as checking email. However, unlike email (which is for all intents and purposes a private affair), status updates, comments and photos posted on these social media platforms are visible to other people online – including current or prospective employers. This can cause problems for you in the workplace. Photos, especially, can speak a lot about you (for better or worse) and if you’re serious with your career – or looking to land that dream job – then you’d be wise steering clear of posting photos even remotely controversial or “indecent”. Why? Because they can cast you in a bad light, and limit your privacy. In what follows we’ll go in a bit more detail.
They can cast you in a bad light.
Photos from the weekend of you getting drunk surely won’t portray you in the most positive of lights. And may make you look irresponsible. Sure, everyone deserves to let off some steam every now and again. For most of us, drinking alcohol provides this release, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with having a few drinks on the weekend. However, you need to be mindful that your current or prospective employer may see these photos, and judge you based on them. Most employers won’t be too keen on having one of their valued and representative employees looking drunk and messy online. Unfortunately, bad photos of you drunk will look bad on them, and they may not want to take that chance with you. If the tables were reversed, would you?
Indeed, if you’re currently a part of management, then it may be worthwhile having your employees conduct a short online course on the pitfalls of posting photos on social media. (And if you’re looking for the platform to base it on, Axcelerate Australia is an excellent option.) It may be one of the most important trainings you put your staff through, especially when it appears that the popularity of social media (and other new platforms) is only set to grow in the coming years.
You lose some of your privacy.
With the popularity of social media and instant photo and status updates, it’s now getting even harder to keep some of your privacy away from prying eyes (such as your employer). For example, many individuals have been caught by their bosses for lying about being sick, or having a family emergency. An innocent photo posted by a friend on your “sick day” can come to your boss’s attention, leaving you with lots of explaining to do the next day at work.
Unfortunately, social media can hurt your career. Photos, posted innocently enough, on Facebook and Twitter can negatively affect your hard-earned reputation in your current job, as well as hurt your chances of grabbing that dream job you so rightly deserve. Indeed, indecent or “controversial” photos are not just embarrassing to you, but career damaging. So make sure you think twice the next time you post something online. It may just come back to haunt you.