Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Why the Facebook is Fu'less

Listeners often ask us where they can find us on Facebook.  The short answer is, "You can't".

Neither Ms Swap Fu nor I keep accounts on the ubiquitous social media site -- personal, podcast related, or otherwise.  We have many reason for this, mostly related to the inherent dangers of entrusting a profit-motivated corporation with your private information.  But more pragmatically, it boils down to two points, 1.) you are going to do dumb ass shit online, and 2.) it's going to be there forever.

It wouldn't be right for me to write this post without listing horror stories.  Specifically, several friends of ours have had their jobs compromised because of things they have posted on Facebook.  Two have lost their jobs because they posted dated pictures of themselves partying on supposed "sick days".  Stupid?  The pictures?  Certainly.  But have you ever played hooky?  I have.  Who's to say someone else isn't going to post a picture of you and tagging it.  But theres' ways of preventing that.  Of course there are, and have fun policing that... forever.

Another was passed over for a promotion.  A source close to the manager responsible told my friend that stuff in her Facebook profile was used as evidence of moral turpitude.  Things she had posted three years prior.  Should you have to pay for your "mistakes"... forever?

Still others spent extended periods without a job (I suspect) because their Facebook profiles, which were of course linked to the email addresses at the top of their resume.  Rookie mistake, right?  Sure, but it's another thing you have to be aware of and monitor... forever.

Now, you may say that these people were being singled out as target for other reasons.  I assure that that was not the case.  In fact, every employer I have worked for in the last 12 years has engaged outside parties to regularly troll the Internet for information about their employees and online background checks are the absolute norm for all job applicants.  This policy is generally mandated by their insurers in order to safeguard against shrinkage, intellectual property and productivity loss as well as to reduce the risk of workplace harm.  The problem is these third parties did not mandate how the information will be used by the companies; their only job is only to report.

But don't take my freaky, libertarian, swinger word for it, I feel like it was all much better stated by Wired Magazine's UK editor in this article.

Now... let's not get into how creepy it is when you get a friend request from your Aunt Mildred.

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