Generation Y has been eating up social media like a tub of McDonald’s fries, wolfing them down by the handful because they are so damn tasty without any second thought about repercussions. We simply can’t get enough of it.
The ability to instantly share pictures, thoughts, cool links, or whatever else you feel like with a huge audience, regardless of whether you’re a social media rock star or narcissist, gives a fun feeling of community. But this “community effect” has consequences that you don’t see coming, not unlike the feeling after the tub of fries.
Currently 66% of Generation Y is unaware that their online footprint or reputation can be an important factor in whether or not they are hired for a position, but they need to learn fast because in the information age it is much easier than ever before to evaluate someone thanks to websites like Facebook and MySpace.
56% of Generation Y feels that this practice is unfair, but it is becoming common procedure – careerbuilder.com reports that 45% of employers screened potential employees using social media. So get used to it, as I’m sure it will become more and more routine.
There is no shortage of horror stories about young job seekers being foiled by embarrassing pictures popping up when the manager Googles their name, here is one particularly funny one.
But remember that not just your personal photos need to be kept track of, but also anything else that has your name attached to it. Your comments on friends’ pages, or in message boards, tweets, and whatever else are all fair game for a company’s purpose of screening applicants, and can be just as damaging as an embarrassing photo if what you said was something people might find unsavory.
Incidents like this one can have long-lasting and serious effects on your personal brand. In the digital environment once things go viral they can spiral out of control very quickly and potentially have very serious consequences.