Facebook is becoming a source of information for employers to learn about employees and applicants. Students should be aware that their online information paints a picture that they may not intend to show employers.
Why your Personal brand Matters.
By James Racer II
Companies are often skeptical of employee’s claims on their resumes, and with good reason. One unethical employee can damage the reputation of an entire company of otherwise great people. This is why some employers are using the web to research applicants. Through Facebook, Twitter, and other social websites, people make their personal lives freely available to the world. Why wouldn’t an employer use that information? If you announce to your friends on an increasingly public Facbook post, how much you hate your current job, or slack off at work, why would you expect other employers to want to hire you? Some people have even gone to the extreme ends of bad judgment and announced publicly that they have cheated on tests while earning their degrees. It shouldn’t be news that what you say and do on-line can affect your life off-line, but for some it still is.
This is why the idea of personal branding is important. It gives people a concept to keep handy when socializing online. We want people to think of the internet as a channel that people (including current and future employers) gather information about you. The way you read reviews of products and search for information before making purchases, is essentially the same as an employer doing a background check before hiring you. You may not think of yourself as a product that can be bought and sold, but you probably want to be paid for your work, which is just another way to say you want to sell your skills. So think about what an employer would see if the went to the web looking for a brochure and review of you.
Be honest about what you do, and let people (and employers) know that you know where the work and play boundaries are. Think about it. If all that people see of you online is your fun side, how are they to judge you in any other way? Your boss may also be party hound in their spare time, but they still want to know you won’t be calling in hung over on Monday mornings. So use the internet to your advantage. Make an online presence that highlights all of your skills and ethics, not just your most embarrassing moments. Your future bosses will thank you.
By James Racer II
It’s amazing how fast and how furiously things can spiral out of control on the internet. An Albany Oregon high school senior endured an emotional public shaming ordeal involving a national art prize that culminated in death threats from people she never knew.
Kasey Bowman 17, was selected to win a National Gold Medal and American Visions Award from The Alliance for Young Artists & Writers who present The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. One of her multiple prize winning paintings appears very similar to one by another artist who is popular on deviantart.com, a social media site for artists and art fans. When someone noticed the similarities between the paintings they mentioned it online. The news quickly spread to other sites, and to the artist Bowman was accused of copying. The stories began receiving comments by people outraged at Bowman.
The original image left, "Selfish" by Wenqing Yan; and "Stolen Wings" right, by Kasey Bowman
The Alliance for Young Artists & Writers was contacted, as well as Bowman’s school, and Bowman herself, by people angered at what they read online. Several public forums began filling with often unkind comments. One of the sources contacted was the Albany Democrat-Herald. Jennifer Moody, Education Reporter, wrote about the controversy due to the comments posted to the original story. Bowman made a public apology on her deviantart page. The Alliance for Young Artists & Writers revoked the awards given to Bowman. The statement on their Facebook page read:
“It has been brought to our attention, and we have confirmed, that a high school student submitted to The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards a painting that she now acknowledges was copied from another artist, Wenqing Yan. The student has apologized to the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, and her National Gold Medal and American Visions Award have been revoked. She is no longer considered a Scholastic Award winner. The work will not appear in our publications and the painting was removed from our online galleries. Contrary to information posted online by commenters on various sites, this student received no monetary prize from our program.” (Read further.)
Bowman received death threats over her painting. That’s how out of control social media can get. All the connections made through the social web and the perceived anonymity of modern communication sometimes seems to bypass many people’s comment filters.