By Kimberly Mallas
Social networking websites, such as MySpace and Facebook, have forever changed the way people monitor one another. The benefits are numerous, making it possible for friends to keep in touch without having to resort to lengthy email messages or awkward newsletters. It’s also undeniable that these sites have opened many doors of opportunity to meet someone new, get to know someone better, or gather a group of people with common interests. The mindset of most users is that these websites revolve around casual interactions in which case pictures with objectionable content can be the norm. Few members of such online communities cannot imagine anyone other than their peers ever seeing what they’ve posted, but this is very far from the truth. It’s no longer just your stalker ex digging for information on you; it’s also become relevant to potential employers in the process of reviewing resumes.
Judgments based on credentials and performances during the interview process are no longer enough. Employers are investigating every avenue they can before hiring someone new. Additionally, they are now often taking into account how their candidates portray themselves online, asking, “Is this person right for our company?” If an employer sees many pictures of a job contender drinking alcohol, they will be less inclined to consider that person as a candidate for a position within their company. They may feel the “partier” seems irresponsible and doesn’t represent the image that the business wishes to project. Some students may brush off this warning, claiming that they don’t need to worry about their self-portrayal online until they graduate, but this is not entirely true. Even part-time jobs, internships, campus employment, and graduate schools may turn away from applicants if they don’t like what they see online.
Also, the internet doesn’t always respect the changes that a person makes as they mature or change their lifestyle. What someone puts online can potentially stay in cyberspace forever since there are computers that regularly archive websites. It’s kind of like a time capsule that can be unearthed at any given time in a person’s life. This does not necessarily mean that everyone should stifle their online persona altogether. While everything evolves, it seems apparent that an online presence has become one of life’s necessities and will become even more prevalent in the future. Therefore, consider the popular concept that what you send out to the universe always reflects back eventually, so why not show a side of yourself to be proud of now and for years to come?