With the advent of web based social networking, it has never been
easier to self-publish your very own interactive, multimedia
autobiography to the entire world. Of course … while friends and
neighbors are delighted to see pictures of you and your chums in goofy
poses, holding colorful drinks during a night on the town, a potential
employer may not be so pleasantly amused. As such, there has been
increasing concern especially among college aged job hunters on the
privacy of their information and how to make it easily accessible to
close friends, yet seem nonexistent to everyone else.
For instance, a warrant is required for someone to search your home and actually have the evidence found considered. Following that model, shouldn’t a warrant be required of a potential employer who wants to dig through your personal Facebook account?
And in casual conversation with friends, you might readily offer personal information such as your age, birthplace, and marital status. However federal and state laws prohibit job discrimination based on these attributes, so the solicitation of the same information from a potential employer would be grounds for a lawsuit. If a potential employer were to peruse your social network where this information is readily available, shouldn’t this also be grounds for a lawsuit?
Ok, so maybe I’m being a little extreme with the talk about warrants and lawsuits. After all, it’s your choice to (or not to) put your personal information out there and so it’s also your responsibility to know how publicly accessible that info becomes. But does a profile picture of you, scantily clad, mean you’ll disregard the dress code at work? Does a video of you acting like a fool at the bar mean you’ll be irresponsible on the job? If you tell a dirty joke in a forum, does that mean that you’ll tell it over the water cooler? Maybe the question isn’t whether Jane Employer should have the right to nose around your MySpace account, but whether she’s just wasting her time digging through irrelevant content.