What you put online may come back to haunt you

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Imagine not getting a job because of something you did over spring break. This could be a reality for some students as they post pictures of themselves in questionable situations and post them to Facebook and MySpace.
 
CBS News ran a story in 2006 about how employers are now checking applicants’ online profiles before making hiring decisions. Companies are gaining access to these online social networking profiles, some that the applicants even think are set to private. What a company sees on these sites really does have an impact on an employer’s decision so students need to know what and what not to put on their profiles.
 
Also, with the concerns of identity theft and misuse of information made available online, the amount of information Facebook and MySpace users are putting on these sites could cause some alarm if sensitive information is attained by those who would use malevolently.

Companies are not the only ones watching your actions these days; the ability to see what your friends are doing means they can see what you are doing, too. This could have negative consequences if, say a friend starts getting too friendly with another friend’s boyfriend/girlfriend. Remember, what you do online can affect your social life and your professional life.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with these online social networking sites. With Facebook alone there are over six million users and, according to CBS News, the average user spends around 18 minutes a day on the site. The networking possibilities are astronomical and the ability to stay connected with friends across an ocean with the click of the mouse is cheaper than calling. As long as everyone plays by the rules, the whole networking idea of these sites will continue to progress in line with the advancements in the Internet, but it is when the unwritten rules are broken that trouble can start.
 
Here’s an example. A young man was an intern for a bank in New York during the fall of 2007. On Halloween of 2007, he sent his boss an e-mail explaining how he couldn’t make it to work on Friday (Nov. 1) because of a family emergency. On the first, his boss checked the young man’s Facebook to verify his story and saw a photo of  the young man in a fairy outfit, wand in one hand and a beer in the other from the night before. Next his boss promptly sends the fellow an e-mail expressing his sympathy for his family and complementing him on his wand. This message is not just sent to the young man, but is sent to the entire company at the same time. This goes to show that anything that is put on the Internet can be used against you, especially if you are caught in the kind of deceit that this intern was participating in. It  could haunt his career for years to come.

The idea that companies do search the profiles of its applicants is entirely out of those applicants’ hands. This can be a scary thought, especially with those pictures of the Michigan game party floating on 20 different people’s profiles.
 
The simple fix to this is to not do anything stupid. Do not allow yourself to get too inebriated to the point where you cannot move quick enough to get out of the way of the camera lens, or at least hide that inconspicuous plastic cup. If that seems out of reason, then just be proactive in hunting down those photos and erasing your name from them if you have been tagged in those types of photos. Preventive acts like these will cause  those not-so-professional images of you to not come up when an employer is researching you. You are in college, use your head.
Times are changing to include the Internet in many more aspects of life.

From being able to access the Internet on an iPhone to buying show tickets online and printing them out are just a couple of the everyday activities that are bound to be made quicker and better, by just simply following Moore’s Law that says that the capacity of the integrated circuit will double every two years. This will greatly enhance the ability to market one’s self at greater convenience, but with that convenience come the responsibility to not jeopardize your future by having half-naked photos or dirty jokes strewn across your page like an escort Web site.
 
So please, keep the Internet clean and in turn keep your name clean, or else you’ll be cleaning houses for a living.

Don Weaver is a Groveport area resident.
 

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