Over on my blog for child abuse survivors, we’ve had a stark reminder of just how many people see if you “like” something on social media. Obviously, the subject matter over there is pretty personal, and when you like the page, Facebook, by default, wants to show all your friends that you liked something. That could present a problem when you want to follow a page like that but don’t want that information “outed” to all of your friends and coworkers.
I’ve written over there about how to follow that blog without having the information be public, but it’s not just personal privacy that we need to talk about, and it’s not just Facebook. Every social network that has a “like” feature shares that information in some way. It might not be as public as Facebook is about it, but people know what you like, and they can certainly share that information. That can have an affect on your career.
Let me give you a few examples of how it might affect your career, some obvious, some not so much.
- You’re politically active. There’s no harm in that, necessarily. But when you start liking, loving, laughing at, etc. posts that ridicule people you disagree with, or use vulgar, offensive, language to describe other human beings, you might not be someone I want on my team.
- Liking or commenting on things that could be embarrassing to your employer. This one is most true on LinkedIn, where I’ve seen so many people laugh at or leave comments on things using a profile that literally tells people where they work.
- You like a lot of off-color memes.
- You like a lot of obviously fake stories.
Remember, when you like something you are telling the world this is something you agree with, or find funny, etc. You’re giving out a lot of information about the kind of person you are, and potential employers are using that information to judge whether you are a fit for their organization. I look at some of the things my connections share and like on social networks and I’m amazed that they would do that. They may think that their employer doesn’t see it, or only their friends see it, but they should remember one lesson about careers, you never know where your next opportunity is going to come from.
I can honestly say that there are people I’m connected to on social media, that I would not hire, or recommend they be hired. It’s because the stuff they like and share on social media tells me that they would not deal well with a diverse team with lots of different ideas, or a diverse customer base. They are too quick to like and share something without thinking about the repercussions or checking facts, or they simply don’t consider how their social media likes and comments are going to reflect on the people they work for and with.
Really, when we talk about wanting people who can pay attention to detail, and can work well as part of a team, don’t let your social media profiles show the opposite.
Image by Sean MacEntee