Here in the convivial offices of The Curmudgeon, we are a social company. Lots of company parties and whatnot. Many of the employees share personal information on Facebook, MySpace, & Twitter, though why anyone would want to know that Bobby threw-up the sushi he ate for lunch escapes me.
When President Obama was asked by a kid what advice he had for growing up to be President, he said be careful what you post on Facebook. He knew what he was talking about. Harris Interactive did a study and found that 45% of employers use social networks to check out job applicants. Scary enough, but worse, 35% didn’t hire someone based on what they saw there. “Holy status update,” Batman!
Your current boss may be doing it too. Badmouthing him or the company? Hello unemployment. I check up on my employees. They keep friending me (BIG MISTAKE). I’ve only yelled at one worker though, for reporting how drunk he got in the company Irish Pub during work hours, not for getting drunk but for telling the world about it. Just in case the authorities or somebody’s mother is reading, we confiscate keys and they are given a ride home with the car service I pay for. (Note to self: Hire a car service, damnit.) Don’t you wish you worked for me? Just use a little discretion and don’t make a habit of it. Fine Irish whiskey is to be sipped and savored, not swigged down in some “I can hold my liquor better than you” drinking game.
But there are other pitfalls too, worse perhaps. Burglars love the social networks, though they’re not very social. So go ahead and tell everybody your’re going on vacation to Europe for two weeks, or you could go to the roughest bar in the city, stand up and say, “Attention everybody. I’m going to Paris for two weeks and my house will be empty. By the way, I live at 666 Dumbass Lane.” One such man announced he was going to Kansas City, and then posted constant updates about it. He came home to find his house cleaned out, including the very expensive editing equipment he used to put together videos that he posted on Facebook. “It was like they knew what they were looking for,” he later said. They knew what they were looking for all right. They were looking for an idiot on Facebook.
Spouses use it during divorces. You might have evidence of an affair, or said how hungover you were which will be used against you during the child custody phase. “Bye kids. The bad judge man wont let mommy keep you. He said she has a Zinfandel problem.“
Still not convinced? Here’s a couple that will hit you in the pocket book: The IRS is starting to use it during tax disputes. Cha-Ching! As they get more and more aggressive, soon they’ll probably have a computer that looks for social network information automatically, and they may be doing it already. But wait! Order today and you also get….higher insurance premiums. Insurance companies are pondering this move even as we speak. Cha-Ching! More expensive homeowners insurance, coming soon to an insurance company near you. Writing references to drinking or reckless behavior? Cha-Ching! There goes your driver’s insurance.
Identity thieves love these sites. I’m not going to even get into phishing and virus’s. Just remember to be very careful with what you post. Just ask yourself, “What evil could I do with this information,” and you’ll be alright. Maybe.
Now that’s social networking.