A Change to Facebook You (Hopefully) Won’t Be Upset About

6 Oct

I am now the proud owner of a Facebook application!  Or at least that’s what I told Facebook in order to get the developers release of Timeline.  Timeline is a cool new feature that literally lets you see any wall post, event attended, group joined, friend made, etc. at any point in your Facebook life.  My first few actions included looking at my first wall post (“what’s up adam first comment yeah!”), seeing the groups I joined, and seeing what events I attended back in 2007.  For fun, I wrote on the wall, “so pumped!” for the first event I ever attended.  After looking back at my old wall posts, I realized how immature and juvenile I behaved back in 2007 and 2008.  For nostalgia, I’m happy Facebook saved all of this information and made it so easy to see, but Timeline is really not ideal for first impressions.

Why Screen Your Profile

In a click of a button, a potential employer or boss can see every little thing I said or posted on my wall from now to January 2007, the month I made my profile.  This concept of screening Facebook profiles is not new to employers, but the process has never been as easy to do as it is now.  While pictures have always been easy to view, depending on a user’s level of activity, posts from even a few months prior were virtually impossible to view.  Using Timeline, all an employer must do is click a year and a month to view everything you posted on Facebook during that time period.  According to the graph below (which is based off a survey conducted by Microsoft Research in 2010) almost 70% of employers have rejected a candidate based on their profile on a social networking site.  When I was applying to colleges, I heard many stories where admission offices rejected a student based on his or her Facebook page.  Although I could never confirm the validity of the stories, I was convinced, and I know many people who immediately un-tagged themselves from any possibly incriminating pictures.  Now, as I am starting to apply for real jobs, I understand that potential employers do the same thing, and that screening what I put up on my Facebook profile is still of utmost importance.

How to Screen Your Profile

I have discovered that maintaining a Facebook profile that won’t upset future employers hasn’t been too hard.  I follow a few simple rules that I find keep my profile very neat.  One rule that I follow is that I never complain on Facebook.  You may end up posting unintelligent comments, such as complaining about a boss, that could get you fired. According to the chart, 11% of people fired for this reason won’t get rehired.  With Timeline, though, cleaning up my profile becomes more difficult.  I would very much not like employers to look at my profile in 2007, but if they have a desire to do so, they easily can because there is no way to really hide that information.

All in all, Timeline is a great new tool that lets you see into the past, but be wary because you must also take extra precautions for the future.

by Adam Goldberg

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2 Responses to “A Change to Facebook You (Hopefully) Won’t Be Upset About”

  1. Shiv Bery October 9, 2011 at 2:16 am #

    Adam,

    I thoroughly enjoyed your blog post and like that you compared the costs and benefits of this new Facebook feature. The graph caught my eye and made me want to read your blog post. Using numbers and/or credible sources to support your argument was a great idea.

    Shiv

  2. Katie Bush October 17, 2011 at 3:26 pm #

    Adam,

    Great article! I agree with Shiv that the chart is eye-catching – and that the new Timeline feature is a little creepy. I have 3 older brothers who have gone through the job interview process, and all of them deactivated their facebook during interviews (not that there was anything bad on there, they just wanted to be safe). Maybe that is another way for people to avoid the horror of being denied employment because of the way in which they socialize online with friends?!
    Katie

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