I head into my first class and the professor starts with the normal review of the syllabus and a little description of herself, which then lead into her wanting to get to know a little bit more about us. She had already done her work. For each and everyone of us, she had done an online search…and let me tell you: there were some incredibly embarrassed students in the class. She had created a power point page for each and every one of the students in the class: 35 total. One by one, each and everyone of us was broadcast on the screen: pictures, interests, quotes, beliefs, etc. that were pulled from our Facebook, Twitter, & blog accounts. Talk about a first impression that was set for most of us. You can bet that I was thrilled that I had recently set my privacy settings high on Facebook (not so great pictures could have been found), and as for Twitter, it’s in my married name (I go by my maiden name in school). I would say that a good 50%+ of the students had items broadcast that most certainly were not things that most would want their parents, professors, or employers to see.
At this point you’re probably wondering what I’m getting at…
Be careful what you put out there. Utilize privacy settings. Think before you post. Would you want potential employers, family members, your children to see this?
Although many students left the class red-faced, it did drill home the point. I think this is especially an important thing to consider if you are going into any health & education field. Not only are you performing a job, but most of the time you are a walking role model. You represent what you teach/promote. Most, if not all, of my classmates are going into the public health field and emphasizing a healthy lifestyle, so the photos of alcohol and drug abuse certainly do not seem to go along with the ideals that they are pushing. Think:
The pot calling the kettle black?
You may be wondering how to protect yourself. Here are a few tips:
- Google yourself – See what is out there about yourself and take steps to rid yourself of the negative things.
- Utilize privacy settings – I don’t think there is a complete need to make everything 100% private, as some things can show your personality, skills & talents, but be aware that things could be misconstrued or viewed different by potential employers (more than 70% of employers now Google potential employees).
- Take your online reputation seriously – If negative hits come up, crowd them with positive ones. By doing so, all the good things about you will surface before negative ones.
- Claim the real estate on your name – Build accounts on social network sites, so no one else can build one claiming to be you and portraying you in a negative light.
Has anyone had any online postings bite them in the butt? How about positive experiences? What would your professor/employer see if they looked you up right now?