Whether you know it or not, you’re being watched and evaluated constantly. We’ve become so accustomed to sharing our lives and living out in the open that we forget that we’re in public, and the rules/consequences of public conduct still apply.
Case in point: I know someone who’s recently been going through the hiring process. As part of that process, every applicant is vetted the same way. He looks at their LinkedIn profile first to see their online resume, check for recommendations, and then continues by Googling them to see what they’re talking about. Since this job is in the Social Media space, their content is both important and relevant.
He recently told me about an applicant who seemed really well qualified for the job – the right type of experience, personality, etc. However, when he checked her Twitter feed he discovered the applicant saying that they had decided to call in sick and were staying home playing video games.
Obviously the potential job applicant made a really big mistake, but in a time where everyone’s out in the open, it’s easy to let your guard down and slip up.
The delete key has saved my hide many a time – I feel confident that the things I share are an accurate representation of who I am, but at the same time I’m also aware that every single thing I do can and does impact my reputation in some way; you may think that nobody listening to you or that a particular person wouldn’t be able to find something you’ve posted – they can and will, because all of your online actions become a matter of public record.
We’re all prey to lapses in judgment, snap reactions and statements taken out of context. The larger point is realizing just how much of our lives are lived out loud – Facebook’s new “Friendship page” feature illustrates this perfectly. You can now see every aspect of your online friendship with someone – the pictures you’re in together, every wall post you’ve left for one another, every time you’ve commented on each other’s updates, all of the events you’ve attended together and even all of the business pages you both like. While I enjoy the feature, it definitely made me take a step back and realize just how much I share online – how much any of us share online, for that matter. For better or for worse, we’ve all been placed under the microscope; Unless you want to go off the grid, everyone needs to take the time to make sure they’re representing themselves genuinely but sensibly. Take the time to judge your actions and statements the same way you would in public. After all, people are watching…