The teenager's story is not unique. In today's digital age, it is well known by now that little is kept secret, with public announcements posted to various social platforms every time someone eats or a baby burps.
This type of transparency comes with risks. For the last few years, public safety officers have been urging participants of social platforms to refrain from mentioning when they are out of town or not near their home, citing examples of home robberies and invasions that were a direct result of posting their vacationing whereabouts on social media.
Examples of excessive partying, foul language toward a work situation, or other harmful characteristics displayed on social media can easily dissuade an employer from giving the candidate a chance in a professional setting.
Clean Up Your Act
Remove photos from Facebook or other social platforms that include partying or wild behavior.
Create Professional Profiles
Business-related Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter accounts can be shared on a resume or digital profile to showcase your professional and social capabilities and insight, leaving peer accounts set to "friends only." Creating a professional website with a resume and work examples will help maintain clean Google results where employers can see them.
Fix Your Privacy Settings
Update your Facebook account so that only friends can see what you're doing and saying.
Remember Your Audience
When posting on social media, always operate under the assumption that everyone - yes, everyone - can see what you wrote. Don't want the world to see it? Don't post it.
For more information on our digital footprint, see our first article in this series and a whitepaper by Steve Lowisz about social media and biases.