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Social Media: Positive or Negative?

Social Media: Positive or Negative? By: Michele Dean Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and You Tube have become the fashionable way of communicating with the masses. It seems that you are not somebody until everybody knows about you. Actors, athletes and reality television stars use social media to connect with fans.

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As society becomes more interested in gossip, social media will become more popular. But, is this a positive step forward or could this fascination have negative consequences? A couple of years ago a Bulgarian diplomat was fired from his job for playing FarmVille on Facebook during budget meetings.

Dimitar Kerin had been warned about playing the game while at work but he failed to pay heed to his superiors. When he was let go from his position, Dimitar stated that he wasn’t the only member of the committee to play the game. Dimitar pointed out that he was only level 40 whereas other committee members were level 46. (Bosker, 2010) In 2009 an employee of the Philadelphia Eagles Football Team was fired because of a post he placed on his Facebook page. The employee, Dan Leone, was upset that the team traded a player he liked. Dan decided to take to his Facebook page and let his friends know how he felt.

He used a curse word and called his employers retarded. A short time later, Dan decided that his post was not professional and he deleted it. But, it was too late. Someone from the office had seen the post. Dan was fired a few days later. He had worked for the company for six years and never had any issues. He apologized profusely but the words fell on deaf ears. (ESPN News Services, 2009) Aside from employers tracking your use of social networking while on the clock, they are starting to use these sites to assist in the selection of new employees.

In January of 2012 the job search website Career Builder hired Harris Interactive to find out how many companies searched social networking sites for information on prospective employees. The study found that 37% of the companies polled currently looked at the social media pages of applicants while another 11% stated that they would be starting that practice soon. The companies polled stated that they looked mainly for references to substance abuse, posts of inappropriate pictures, bad grammar and negative comments about former employers.

One third of the companies polled admitted that they had passed on hiring someone based on what information they’d found. (Richard, 2012) So, what does this mean for those of us seeking employment in a future where nearly fifty percent of the employers we give our resumes to will be scouring Facebook, Twitter and You Tube for dirt on us? It means that privacy is of the utmost importance. Make sure that the information you share is only available to your friends. Be sure to update your privacy settings on a regular basis.

Let your friends know what is acceptable to post about you and what isn’t. Remember, they can snap a picture of you and post it on their own accounts. Basically, you should look at anything and everything that you do or say on any social network and assume that you are shouting it to the entire world. Eventually, someone important will see that information. So be careful. The Internet is not as anonymous as it used to be. References Bosker, B. (2010, May 30). Politician Dimitar Kerin Fired For Playing Farmville On The Job.

Retrieved November 24, 2012, from The Huffington Post: http://www. huffingtonpost. com/2010/03/30/dimitar-kerin-fired-over-_n_518635. html ESPN News Services. (2009, March 9). Facebook post gets worker firec. Retrieved November 24, 2012, from ESPN. com: http://sports. espn. go. com/nfl/news/story? id=3965039 Richard, J. (2012, April 20). 37 Percent Of Employers Use Facebook To Pre-Screen Applicants, New Study Says. Retrieved November 24, 2012, from The Huffington Post: http://www. huffingtonpost. com/2012/04/20/employers-use-facebook-to-pre-screen-applicants_n_1441289. html