Rekindling or stalking? Bantering or bullying? World betterment or spamming? Sharing or oversharing? Loving or hating FACEBOOK?
Our unstoppable interaction with the internet seems to be exponentially rising these days, doesn’t it? Lose your phone for a week, and you’ll be just fine because facebook, twitter and all those pingers in between will more than have your back. Of course you're a member of a work group on facebook- and of course your company will be tweeting you all the important stuff anyway. So it seems paradoxical when you feel like the ultimate sinner for heading to that oh so familiar page during your office hours, doesn't it?
As the ultimate go-to site for people on their work breaks or sneakily procrastinating from work, Facebook is being ruined. Once an opportunity to network, seek out graduate fairs, and statuses about jobs needed or wanted, it now only seems to inundate us with naughties about our boss' ex-wife. The slippery slope that this leads to, however, is mutually damaging.
The damage that Facebook may or may not cause your career, however, really is optional - at least to a certain extent.
People relentlessly claim that their reason for not having ‘tracebook’ is privacy, or lack of; they have a fair point. Yet this point can, to a certain extent, be addressed. It’s true that it is ridiculous to have your boss on Facebook, especially if you are going to flaunt an outrageous profile. Simply, think twice before you add people to avoid being the topic of office gossip! Regardless of how safe you think you're being however, bear in mind that employers do look at the virtual you too. A lot of damage control can be taken in advance on your profile. Think, check and double-check who you add and what you say online; all of these factors build your digital profile. And remember, your digital profile is also your professional profile when employers are doing their background checks.
Importance of your digital footprint
A professional image in the digital world can be paramount if you are in a corporate environment or exposed to the public eye: do not assume that your employer will overlook this when doing their homework on candidates. From typing "Zzzzzzz" as a status, to whinging about work related topics, office politics should be decidedly separate from your social media.
Yet your corporate life and the social media world are merging more and more. The more you put out there in statuses, links with other apps, syncing with YouTube all your other social networks, the more exposed the' virtual you' becomes. Facebook has a career past and present section, and LinkedIn can sync to your less professional images. This, when irresponsibly managed, can destroy any clean facade you create on one site, if countered by contradictory naughty information on another. Conclusively, you have exposed what job you did last year, who your new boss is, along with all your Facebook secrets to your potential future employer.
Privacy is key
Just don't put it up there! Check your privacy, be a pedant about it, obsess over stuff you care about, and also the stuff you don’t because it all adds up to things that matter. Picture yourself as your employer, prospective or not, looking at your profile. Would you take you on? Don’t flaunt your location if you don’t want your boss or peers to know you are skiving for instance!
Don't pull a sickie at work and allow yourself to be tagged in party photos or exciting locations online. Night-club photos and location updates are a small drop in the ocean of disgraceful, embarrassing, cringe-worthy, infuriating or just plain unnecessary not-quite-data bites we are force-fed. The last thing they need to do is add insult to injury, in simultaneously telling your boss that you have in fact not got the flu, but have reprioritised work to allow for hangover time at a day spa. Quick, delete, detag!
Think about the consequences of your online exposure. Sending along a nice selfie with that much extra skin may seem wise at the time, yet you may as well make it your profile picture for all of sundry and your colleagues to see and to gossip over! Nudies are not exempt from the all-important and ever-lasting digital footprint. Google your name and you’ll see what I mean - forgot about that old picture, didn’t you? Remember that your boss (and grandmother) can do the exact same thing - no exclusive databases required to snoop at all!
Facebook's advantages for working pros...
Facebook can be brilliant. Social media is an unstoppable way to expose your professional self, qualifications and multi-media work online. This is why clean profiles are better than anti-work related profiles. One colleague or another will stumble across the digital you, and word spreads like wildfire in the online work population. If you use it wisely, this can be fantastic. With a total number of 1,110,000,000, monthly Facebook users, you may not be the only one making rookie professional mistakes. Yet that does not make yours any less important, or that you can make excuses now that you've seen how to brush things up.
In a society in which we cry out about lack of privacy, data infringement and identity fraud, we also willingly post every minute detail of our professional and non-professional lives onto the most publicly accessible domain in the world. Is it really worth losing your job, all for that status about last night? Sometimes it really is a blessing when the workplace blocks access to the most popular social network: the bittersweet reaction to the bittersweet Facebook.