Digital Footprint Has Critical Impact in Professional World

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Maintaining Clean Online Presence is Crucial as Technology Changes

In George Orwell’s “1984,” the setting, a dystopian, futuristic society, was one in where its citizens knew no privacy from their leader, "Big Brother." Nothing was secret anymore; nothing was sacred. While this was seen as a fictional, sci-fi fate, with the growing relevance of today’s social media where we splash all of our personal information, our present is much like the future we feared.

As a result, we may have brought "Big Brother" upon ourselves.

Our digital footprint grows in importance as technology evolves to be more social. In a recent ruling by the National Labor Relations Board, employers were ordered to scale back on policies that limited what their employees could say about the company online. After several cases in which employees were fired for bad-mouthing their employers, the board ruled that net speech is protected. Workers, they said, have the right to discuss work conditions online without fear of retribution.



But while the rules may have been lifted a little, there’s still much to be aware of when it comes to maintaining your personal brand online. Facebook’s new Graph Search, for instance, is showing alarming results in its initial test run. The new search option allows recruiters and employers to sift through a user’s interests and experiences by searching key word phrases. For example: “Connections who work at Google and like Al Gore.”

But “liking” something on Facebook, even in jest, now will show up to potential employers who are searching for particular topics. Similarly, Twitter’s new advanced search can also unveil phrases you’ve typed, hashtags you’ve posted, and accounts you’ve mentioned.

In each case, it can uncover a whole gamut of things you wished your potential employer hadn’t seen. On the other hand, these searches can also uncover your culture, capabilities, and interests to employers, showing that you're a well-rounded individual who would be a good fit for the company. The solution? Maintain a professional digital footprint-- one you’d want your current/future employer to stumble upon. As social media surges forward, now is a great time to clean up your presence online.

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Maintaining Clean Online Presence is Crucial as Technology Changes

In George Orwell’s “1984,” the setting, a dystopian, futuristic society, was one in where its citizens knew no privacy from their leader, “Big Brother.” Nothing was secret anymore; nothing was sacred. While this was seen as a fictional, sci-fi fate, with the growing relevance of today’s social media where we splash all of our personal information, our present is much like the future we feared.

As a result, we may have brought “Big Brother” upon ourselves.

Our digital footprint grows in importance as technology evolves to be more social. In a recent ruling by the National Labor Relations Board, employers were ordered to scale back on policies that limited what their employees could say about the company online. After several cases in which employees were fired for bad-mouthing their employers, the board ruled that net speech is protected. Workers, they said, have the right to discuss work conditions online without fear of retribution.

But while the rules may have been lifted a little, there’s still much to be aware of when it comes to maintaining your personal brand online. Facebook’s new Graph Search, for instance, is showing alarming results in its initial test run. The new search option allows recruiters and employers to sift through a user’s interests and experiences by searching key word phrases. For example: “Connections who work at Google and like Al Gore.”

But “liking” something on Facebook, even in jest, now will show up to potential employers who are searching for particular topics. Similarly, Twitter’s new advanced search can also unveil phrases you’ve typed, hashtags you’ve posted, and accounts you’ve mentioned.

In each case, it can uncover a whole gamut of things you wished your potential employer hadn’t seen. On the other hand, these searches can also uncover your culture, capabilities, and interests to employers, showing that you’re a well-rounded individual who would be a good fit for the company. The solution? Maintain a professional digital footprint– one you’d want your current/future employer to stumble upon. As social media surges forward, now is a great time to clean up your presence online.

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