Big Brother is watching - Candidates, be aware of your Social Media footprint.

Big Brother is watching - Candidates, be aware of your Social Media footprint.

23 March 2015

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Social media – isn’t it great?

Just think about all of the ways that 21st Century technology has made everything easier and better for us all. Just by reading this article, we are all joining in the new way of communicating with each other.

For all of us who sneered at Twitter or Facebook as the haven of this generations youngsters, we are now finding ourselves playing with the very same fire under a different guise. Let’s not kid ourselves – LinkedIn is Facebook for the older generation. It’s the acceptable internet socialising during work hours and for people who “don’t do social media”.

And that is both a good and a bad thing.

Communication is good. That is an indisputable fact. Talking to other people, whether its colleagues, friends or family is vital for this world to revolve. However, the very real danger, is in what we say…..
Big Brother is watching you. Every single thing that you put out on the net, is exhibit A in the trial of whether you should be taken seriously for a role. Nobody reads your posts. Well, not in the grand scheme of things. Your connections, by in large will not read your Facebook update, your tweet or even an article that you take time to write on here. Out of the 800 connections I have on LinkedIn, maybe a tenth of those will read this once it’s posted.

However, if I was looking for another job, you can guarantee that any potential employer will do their due diligence on me as an individual. And although this article and the others that have gone before it (which are truly fantastic by the way!), may not have reached a mass audience, come contract issuing time, you can bet that they will be read. This is the 21st Centuries employment carbon footprint. What lasting imprint are you leaving?

  • That tweet you made bemoaning England’s football performance in Brazil – exhibit B.
  • The Facebook update where you moaned about your ex colleagues – exhibit C.

These are not comments that you make down the pub, to your close friends, which will disappear in to the night. These are comment that will be the recruitment albatross around your neck. You think that comment you made about your neighbours from Liverpool keeping you up all night won’t matter – wait until you have a Liverpudlian HR manager who takes offence at your description. Social media has changed the way that we have to behave. Every comment that you write online will be there to view by potential employers looking to recruit, former colleagues being nosey and even potential business partners.

What you do online is insignificant until the time when you realise it really isn’t.

I have seen job offers retracted due to the ramblings of someone who thought they were talking to just their friends. They forgot that what they feel in any one given moment is no longer a reaction but a historical fact, ready to be thrown in your face. Big Brother is watching you.

So how do you manage the way you talk online? I guarantee that LinkedIn will become less business network related over time. I have already seen the move towards a business Facebook – and no, I don’t want to congratulate Mr X on his 4th anniversary in his job. So as LinkedIn becomes less work related and more social, we have to adapt. Think about what you post. Think about what you are posting and its impact in the future. Think about your other, non-work related social accounts – who can see them? Before you hit send/publish/tweet, think about whether you would say your published thoughts to a stranger in the street. If you wouldn’t, then you most probably shouldn’t be leaving a permanent trail to your comments. It is up to every member of LinkedIn to protect it for all of our collective sakes. If we treat it as another acceptable way of chatting through the day, that’s what it will become. We will debase it to yet another den of rambling, incoherent and irrelevant nonsense. We all need to reclaim the ideal of LinkedIn. We all need to be professional in the way it’s used. Use it don’t abuse it. Let’s keep LinkedIn sacred.

And remember - Big Brother is watching you…..

Just make sure that you don’t give him cause for concern.

Written By Adam Davey

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