Social media; an indelible reputational tattoo?

tattoo.jpgNetworking company Viadeo recently released research showing that freely available online information about candidates influenced recruitment decisions in just under 60% of cases. 20% of employers had discovered personal info about possible employees on social websites such as MySpace, Facebook and YouTube (some of it decidedly unflattering). The group most likely to ‘bare their souls’ online were 18-24yr olds, a large %age of who seem unaware of the blurring of the line between your personal and professional reputation. For me, this raises a few personal PR issues:
* trend towards ego-boosting within our peer group, can have negative stakeholder consequences (ie future clients or employees may not be impressed with your social exploits)
* there’s a difference between personal authenticity and professional naievity; learn it
* your ‘online footprint’ isnt like last year’s CV; it’s an electronic tattoo linked to you by e-code
* your online ‘PR’ can be managed to your advantage; how are you working on your repute?
* every personal post, link, email, photo, comment you make is a reflection of your character

Failure to pay attention to the new rules of reputation management could result in a personal or professional PR disaster. However, while 13% of recruiters did suggest web reputation worked positively for some surveyed, the overwhelming conclusion was that candidates are failing to manage their ‘Net Rep’ effectively.Equally worrying, findings suggested that over half of those researched claimed that someone else had posted pictures of them online without consent.

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7 thoughts on “Social media; an indelible reputational tattoo?

  1. This entry seems to have given me a bit of a wake-up call. However, it is not quite discriminatory towards other people when you judge them by their ‘net reputation’ rather than their professional outlook? Which of course brings me to the point that by having such approach by recruiters, that would seem like they only hire boring employees?

    All I know is that if my recruiter ever saw my MySpace page and the comments I post, he would have second-guesses about keeping me. That would not be fair, because I do keep my professional life significantly separate from my professional career (if that’s what you call a career).

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  2. Thx Lala; re ur discriminatory point; as employers can be easily duped by CVs and tame references, arent they entitled to assess the ‘authentic’ character of the individual? As a soccer fan, I’ve read of several managers who dont sign the player the fans want, because he has knowledge of the ‘real’ person, not just their playing repute. And of course, you’ve just created intrigue by alluding to the nature of comments you post on your MySpace page. Bottom line; in Internet Age there’s no line between the professional you and personal you – just ask Ben Cousins or Alan Jones!!

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  3. I have a feeling that would depend on which industry we’re talking about here?

    Yes, of course employers are entitled to assess what kind of desirable qualities they are seeking in an employee. However in some industries, employers do not have that kind of option – there are just some jobs that are so downright boring that they’ll hire whoever has the right amount of experience and education in the field (take certain government areas for example).

    Haha, yes, Ben Cousins and Alan Jones.

    These days you just can’t hide anything anymore.

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  4. People are brands and, as social networking site stats suggest, the world is watching. It should be considered that one should manage oneself as a brand by keeping the message consistent and to market and advertise accordingly. It should also be noted that one should manage offline exploits as noted in the last sentence of the entry.

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