“Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!” (Ronson), the tweet that became the end of PR Justine Sacco’s career and reputation. Justine Sacco, like many other internet users, mindlessly tweeted a racist joke on Twitter. She thought that the tweet wouldn’t catch anyone’s attention, but within a few hours, her tweet blew up all across the Internet and she became public enemy number one. It’s through horrifying stories like Justine Sacco’s that people are realizing the weight that social media has on our online reputation.
Now that the job market is expanding onto the world wide web, college graduates and college students like myself have to pay attention to our online presence more than ever because our future employment is on the line. One now has to prove their aptitude and qualifications, to employers, through the content that he/she puts on the internet. A online reputation management class at Northwestern University informs students that “The way that most students find jobs or connect with people is not by mailing out résumés, It is by people finding each other on social media”(O’Neil). Through a multiyear research, Ms. Hargittai and Mr. King, professors at Northwestern University discovered that “many students do not even know how to adjust the privacy settings or content of their social-media profiles”(O’Neil).I believe students should go beyond the workings of the privacy settings and focus on how they can impress employers with their social media accounts.
When all is said and done, what people should inform themselves on is; How does one go about creating or maintaining a respectable persona online? Now that social media reputation is becoming more important to students because employers are looking at social media accounts when considering future employees. Students should worry if they have social media accounts that could be deemed unappealing to employers. If they are compromising then they should actively make an effort to make their social profiles attractive might not get the job. Many people are aware that companies look into social media accounts but aren’t aware of what one can do to clean up their online presence before applying for jobs or what employers look for in social media accounts.
Surely the obvious thing to maintaining an honest online persona is to be cautious about what one puts up online because it is there forever and for anyone to see. But some other ways one could straighten up their online image is by deactivating Facebook accounts, deleting unpleasant tweets(Wood) and educating oneself about privacy settings, so employer find you appropriate for employment. With the ”online reputation management” industry on the rise(Buck), one could also try entirely to remake their online image with websites like “ReputationChanger.com” and “Reputation.com”(Buck). These sort of websites make maintaining a professional online presence easier.
Also, while looking delving this topic, I asked myself, how much should one censor themselves on social media? What amount of your personal life are you allowed to show on your social media accounts without it jeopardizing your job chances? How can one stop others from slandering their reputation online? What sort of content are employers looking for when examining job candidates social media accounts? If you somehow do mess up your reputation online, how much will it cost you? What do online management companies offer in terms of building a better reputation online?