How do you present yourself on Facebook?
You may be alone or with a significant other or perhaps your whole family members or group of friends are in your profile photo?
As for me, only meself. I have a uniform display photo for my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.
But on LinkedIn, LinkedIn is a different platform and I use a different image there. LinkedIn can still be considered as a social media platform where its niche users are inclined to professional attention, professional contents and professional “image”.
In one of my past articles, I mentioned the risks of posting reckless contents on our social media accounts for it may affect our future endeavours. For example, a job application.
A friend back home applied for a position in a well-respected company with respectable staff and background. That’s what she thought.
Apparently, she failed even before the initial interview. She is a graphic designer. And this is not because we’re friends, but her CV is over and beyond. She is, in fact, overqualified for the position. But she never got the chance even after she provided her portfolio and website of her works.
To simplify and cut the long story short, the HR in-charge of the recruitment rejected the application after minutes of stalking my friend’s Facebook.
What was the reason? The recruitment person didn’t like the face of my friend. And that she looks “intimidating”, “brat”, “sophisticated” and other mean and baseless judgments.
Do you know where the problem is?
Social Media Ethics
The way we present ourselves on Facebook is none of our employer or even our colleague’s business. It’s not for them and it’s not for anyone to question what you post on your timeline or what kind of Twitter users you follow and not even the number of hashtags you use on Instagram.
If they want, LinkedIn is the best place to visit.
Thing here is, we need to start having an ethical discussion over the use of web scraping and data mining within the Human Resources industry.
But problem is, most people do not even know what these two things are.
These are technical terms which simply mean, the ability to gather all electronic data about a person, company or event via software. And in this situation, the software is social media.
For this generation that has never been unplugged – every comment, reaction, like, tweet and share may be a reflection of the level of maturity and affiliations we have.
A potential marketing gold mine and at the same time, a very serious privacy nightmare.
Most people in this age group are willing to share more than others, but not everything will be seen as appropriate in the eyes of an employer.
As I have shared in my past article, Archaeologists of the future, “by the books, archaeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. The archaeological record consists of artifacts, architecture, biofacts or ecofacts, and cultural landscapes. Take note, the record could include Facebook memories, archived Instagram photos, throwback posts and other digital footprints. Yes, digital footprints. It will be traced, studied and analysed in the future.”
Remember, things that may have been socially acceptable in the past but are no longer welcomed can come back to haunt you.
In our present time, politicians are the usual victims. The media use it to track down sound bites or counterarguments from leaders in the past.
The same applies to people trying to get into management, with greater scrutiny applied higher up the organisation.
Apparently, there are a few of us who think the same.
Going back, that friend of mine whose employment got barred by somebody insecure and incapable of drawing the line between what’s consumable for work and what’s for personal is also a victim of that same thing.
At the end of the day, it’s really none of anyone’s business on whatever we do online. Life online is the same as life in reality, so as long as you don’t hurt anybody with what you do and as long as you follow imposed rules and laws, then you’re all good.
It’s quite funny because people tend to blame everything on social media – the inaccurate, wrongful and immature things that we see in this modern world but what we don’t really see is that we are not using the platforms the way they’re supposed to be.
Ears please, employers and HR people or whoever’s the recruitment in-charge – if you need written information of the person applying in your firm, go scan his or her resume. If you need to see his or her physical attributes, go to the same document, for sure a photo is inside.
But if you’re interested on the person’s social life, recently visited places, food for dinner or the series he or she is binge-watching – you have to stop. That is not for you to know and that is not a valid reason to stalk on someone on Facebook and jump into conclusions that this person is no good for the job.
And for the rest of us, social media folks, clearly the issue here is respect to someone’s privacy.
It’s wrong to say that we lack that, we all have respect for each other but because of the way we use these platforms, we have taken some things for granted.
We assume, yes we all do. And we conclude that what we see on our screens is the truth.
Usually, the subject is unable to explain things in or out of context, anything can be used against someone, as we have begun to see in another recent digital creation. For all we know, you are incorrectly represented by a meme.
Like all of us, employers and HR professionals should know the limits.