What Happens On Facebook Stays…Er, Everywhere


‘You see your accountant going out on weekends and attending clown conventions, that no longer makes you think that he’s not a good accountant. We’re coming to terms and reconciling with that merging of identities.’

This is Samuel Gosling talking – he’s a professor at the University of Texas, Austin, who says that as more people use social-networking sites such as Facebook and merge their public and private personas, photos of partying or drinking over the weekend should eventually be no big deal. But for now, the New York Times Magazine article in which Gosling was quoted says recruiters are actually rejecting job applicants based on information they find online.

Currently there are plans underway to teach young people about the long-term dangers of exposing your private life online. Those shots will stay there and may compromise your chances of getting a job – especially any job where work of a sensitive nature is involved. If I search thoroughly, I can normally find anyone I’m looking for on the internet.

Of course, you can be over-cautious. Recently, some fans told me off for posting my home address online but why wouldn’t I? It’s publicly available, and the deluge of mad letters never materialised. Last night in Harrogate a bunch of us went clubbing (as much as you can in H’Gate) and photos were, I think, taken. Will they surface online?

7 comments on “What Happens On Facebook Stays…Er, Everywhere”

  1. I.A.M. says:

    It’s astounding the number of people who recently panicked when they realised that Facebook revealed their telephone number on their profile page. While mine is set to only make that available to those who are ‘friends’, one wonders what the people who don’t have that status assigned to them? Will they have to resort to using that big heavy thing called a ‘telephone directory’?

    Telephone listings are also made available on-line these days, as they have been for well over a decade.

  2. Jon says:

    The most disturbing aspect of this post is the possibility of clubbing in Harrogate. I refuse to accept that such things are possible unless by clubbing you mean there was a quartet at the Women’s Institute playing at a slightly faster than allowable tempo.

  3. admin says:

    Yes, I didn’t enter it into Foursquare but we went to a dismal club called ‘Rehab’, which had all the charisma of the titular clinic and none of the rewards.

  4. Helen Martin says:

    If, as a 19 year old, you post nude photos of yourself draped over a Trafalgar Square lion or spray painting rude phrases on a church or synagogue wall you can expect to have repercussions later on. Do you want your children to find them? and they will search for any record of dear old dad or mum on the net. Is your boss going to want something like that to turn up during touch negotiations with another firm? We trail our pasts like snail slime and the least we can do is keep the details as vague and unreported as possible. (I just realized I was referring to ‘trailing clouds of glory’ makes rather a good contrast.
    Facts: address, phone number, age, affiliations are all available publicly with only minor search efforts. It’s private actions that you have to be wary of posting.

  5. BangBang!! says:

    I know a lot of this info can be found readily on-line but why make it easier? It might not occur to someone nefarious to search for a specific address combined with diary details but if it’s sitting there in front of them….

    On the other hand on a music board I come into contact with a guy who gets turned down by McDonalds for a job. He regularly tweets and posts pro-BNP/anti Muslim sentiment under his own name. That kind of on-line stupidity deserves the reward of unemployment.

  6. Andy says:

    I lost my job due to my Livejournal. Comments made there apparently could have brought the organisation I worked for into disrepute. I’m not entirely blameless, but I provided a gift-wrapped excuse to people who were already trying to save money by losing a job. It was underhanded, painful and to this day I will not keep an online blog or identifiably link myself with my workplace. Not worth the risk. Deleted the livejournal.

    Everything you do online stays online, and can be traced Even the most reclusive authors can be found. I know where Terry Pratchett lives for example, know the one place where you can find his address. Of course now I am more likely to avoid that place. I want Terry to write books, hence the less time he’s standing on his porch waving a shotgun and yelling “Git orf moi land!” the more time he can spend doing just that. Besides, I see enough of him at the Wincanton events.

  7. Helen Martin says:

    If what you are posting does not come under hate crime legislation then you shouldn’t lose your job over it. Freedom of speech, etc., although I’m not sure if that is guaranteed in Britain. Of course, if you are known to be an employee of something like “Save the Oceans” and you post comments about how the public are picking on BP, then it’s an indication of something being fishy on one side or the other. (I don’t apologize for things like that last.)

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