Social Media Friend or Foe? Some Use Social Media to Get Hired, Others to Get Fired

Recently, there have been major developments on government spying on Americans through phone, email, and social media. Government is not the only group looking at personal social media accounts. We have soon discovered that anything that is posted online could be discovered by unintended audiences, especially employers.

An article on CNN features 10 stories of individuals who were fired based on their actions on social media. One story showcases a bitter anonymous barista’s blog featuring over 250 distasteful posts, yet 21,000 likes on Facebook. Needless to say, the power of social media turned this sour barista into an ex-barista. And she’s probably still bitter.

Taco Bell made headlines with a viral photo of its taco-licking employee. Taco Bell says the shells were disposed of, but who really knows. In any case, the damage has already been done. Taco Bell’s taco-licking employee was immediately fired and is no longer able to slobber on customer taco shells.

The article also posted a story about a bus driver in Georgia who lost his job for posting about a hungry middle school student. According to the bus driver, a student on his bus told him that he was unable to get lunch because he did not have the money to pay for it. The bus driver posted on the story on his Facebook page, along with his phone number, stating that he would come up with the forty cents needed to buy the student’s lunch. The post, which sounded like a mockery, got Johnny Cook in hot water with the superintendent and was ultimately fired.

After reading some of these stories, it’s important to know that what is posted online is not just for your eyes. Posting comments online can have permanent consequences, such as being terminated by your employer. For Taco Bell employee, I am thrilled that he posted the picture online because it gave customers an idea about what goes on in the kitchen. If he didn’t post the picture, his taco shell-licking antics would have just continued.

For stories such as the bus driver in Georgia, he shed light on a topic that is often out of mainstream media: hunger in the U.S. While the student states that his parents forgot to give him lunch money that day, many other students across the country do pass their days at school without lunch because their families cannot afford to give them lunch money. A Facebook page has been created to shed light on this phenomenon.

The bitter barista is also doing well! His blog continues to grow as it gains more followers. Bitter barista merchandise is being sold through the blog, and the blog is taking quotes from other bitter baristas or customers.

Whether it is the government or your boss watching over you, be sure that you are comfortable with anyone seeing what you are posting. Just like social media agencies use networks to promote businesses, individuals use social media to promote their own ideas. Next time you post on social media, make sure you think of the consequences and use posts as a way to propel your mission forward.

Nope to Future Pope: How Your Controversial Profile Could Cost You a Job

The Pope has been chosen. With media sites on fire with Pope related news the last few weeks since the retirement of Pope Pontifax, we can finally settle down and relax with the Pope stuff.

Or can we? Should we?

Anyways, to say that the list of people applying to become the next Pope was short would be an understatement. Go even further and know that that list can be dwindled down even further – just ask Bonifacius Steuer. Steuer was overlooked thanks to revealing information against him and his Papal candidacy. Back in 2007, Steuer engaged in a seventy-two-hour romp throughout Florida with a Facebook album entitled, “Tampa Phun.”

As ridiculous as that album name is, it goes without saying that spelling is the least of Steuer’s concerns. The man was up for a position as the Pope and his social media account cost him his position, proving that employers (even if sitting on a lofty cloud) can Passover your application.

I think that, at this point, it should be a given that anything deemed even remotely scandalous should be totally wiped from one’s Facebook page upon starting a new job. It would be akin to Charlie Sheen showcasing a path of psychosis before he was even considered as a lead for “Two and a Half Men.” You may have the talent to back up what you say but people won’t choose you if first impressions aren’t promising.

Even if you weren’t going about a paying job position and working towards an internship, there’s a modicum of decency that should be seen. If I were hiring people and I saw an album chockfull of Spring Break photos without much else in the way – I would be a little more than skeptical choosing them. Steurer’s story is what I’d like to refer to as a poor, more self-contained version of reputation management.

Even though it doesn’t take a genius to know one, it’s clear that Steuer is in the wrong and one step further from the Vatican. As of now, what to do with your social media pages while looking for jobs should be common knowledge but there are those whom neglect obvious points:

1. Remove any incriminating photos of yourself, no matter how far in the past they were. You might be a changed person from those days but how is that going to sway an employer, who has no personal connection to you? A very thorough cleaning, in this regard, is recommended.

2. If you attain a job position, be careful of the posts you make in the future. If you want to take pictures of your French Bulldog wearing a tutu and put them up for your friends to see, feel free to do so. However, determining improper photos to post should be as obvious as picking out a rotting piece of fruit before irrationally sinking your teeth into it.

3. There is a fine line between work and play and alternate Facebook or Twitter accounts can help support that line. If you simply cannot live without putting up pictures of yourself with a group of friends, drinks in your hands, make sure the page can’t be easily searched by anyone other than friends. Create a page specifically designed for work if you can’t help yourself.