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Dangers of Social Media

May 14, 2012

Could your Facebook page land you in jail? According to a Mashable’s article, yes it very well can. I came across this article about a young man being arrested for theft after he posted an incriminating picture of himself on Facebook. The 20 year old is seen standing next to a police car with the gas tank open, appearing as if he was swiping gas from it. His defense was that it was a joke and no actual criminal acts were committed.

As I began to think about this story I realized how easy it was to make a similar mistake. Although we may not have the same crime-depicting pictures on our own pages it is very simple to post something that to us as the authors, may not seem harmful, but to the public, can be taken as something much worse. Take for example the pickle that a NFL star got himself into when he posted a Tweet that created an uproar on sexual orientation in pro sports; Or the soldier that is getting dishonorably discharged for criticizing President Obama on his Facebook.

These three horror stories are examples of how everything we say on the internet can come back to haunt us. Employers now more than ever are using the internet to discover everything that they can about potential employees. It is important to know how to properly market yourself while on the job hunt, but even while employed, you must always keep in mind, that Google’s eyes are always watching.

Do not just rely solely on security features either. They may temporarily block wandering eyes from viewing those interesting pictures of you at last year’s Christmas party but only for so long. Everything that is posted online is public property rather you want it to be or not. My suggestion is to go through your pictures and posts and do a scrub of everything that you might not want your boss to know.

-Fabi, Thrive Intern

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