Facebook has become the social networking tool. MySpace may have led the way. Twitter has its own niche. Facebook hits on too many cylinders to go anywhere any time soon.
It’s a communication tool. Through Facebook you can keep tabs on your friends and acquaintances. You can reconnect with people you haven’t seen for a long time. You can share what you are doing and thinking through Facebook status updates. It’s blogging for everyman. That is why 400 million people have signed up.
Facebook is as private or public as YOU set it to be. However, you have no control what someone you have given permission to see your Facebook entries does with that information. Despite all the steps you have taken that your Facebook profile is viewable only by your Facebook friends, you can’t be 100% sure.
I think most Facebook users are unaware of the privacy settings Facebook offers. Every day we see new headlines on how some idiot lost their job or got arrested due to their Facebook activity. You can’t feel too sorry for someone who posts volatile or criminal material on a public Facebook profile, but at the same time how would you like something you said on Facebook to come back and haunt you, even after you had taken every precaution to make your Facebook activity private?
Employers are now looking at Facebook and Twitter accounts. Whether you’re a prospective or current employee, your online activities may be scrutinized. Of course, the only way to make sure that social networking has no negative impact on your professional life is to not use social networking sites. In today’s world, Facebook is almost as important as email, so that may no longer be a viable option for most.
I can’t give up my Facebook account. It is too important a communication tool for me. I can limit the number of friends I have on Facebook to people that actually are friends, eliminating coworkers and acquaintances that aren’t really necessary.
The most important thing to remember is that Facebook is the internet, whatever level of privacy you may think it offers. When communicating on the internet you should generally try to be somewhat discreet, the same as you would be when conducting any conversation in public. Ask yourself if certain topics are appropriate for Facebook and the answer is “No”.
Do I like the idea of my employer or a prospective employer trying to access my Facebook profile? Of course not. They have no business looking into my private life. Facebook is part of my social life and should have nothing to do with my professional life. At the same time I suppose that an employer needs to avail themselves of every tool possible so they don’t hire a screwball, or have employees that bring discredit to their name via their internet activity. It is what it is, and there isn’t anything you can do about it but live a transparent lifestyle that invites scrutiny.
Is the line between our social and professional lives becoming dangerously blurry?
How would you feel about being sat down by your boss, losing a job, or losing out on a job you really wanted because of Facebook?