We all know about those bloggers who have been fired for blogging (Dooce as an example). But have you thought about how often people may not be getting hired for blogging?
There have been many people fired or reprimanded for blogging about their jobs or other topics that a person’s employer may find to be unseemly. But do you know it may prevent you from getting a job too? One of the downsides to social media is that if you use it, then what you do or say is public. And therefore, potential employers can find you and see what you do or say, quite easily.
While attending a social media day for the National Speakers Association, the main speaker for the day shared a story that had happened to him recently. He was hiring to add to his staff of 14, and had zeroed in a candidate that he really liked. He set up an interview with her, and the day before, he decided to Google her name. He found her blog. And in her blog, this young woman had blogged many times about not wanting a job, that she just wanted to stay home and blog, but that her husband was forcing her to work.
He decided that because he had been impressed with her resume, he would not cancel the interview. He carried out the interview and at the end, he pulled out printed pages of her blog and asked her to explain what she had written. She fell apart. He did not hire her, but he did think he had imparted a lesson onto her, be careful what you are putting out on the interwebs.
A few weeks later, after attending a Facebook event, I got an email from a potential client who wanted me to quote some work for her. She wanted some Facebook business pages built for her business. A few hours after sending off the quote, she contacted my by email, saying that she was very upset and not sure if she wanted to proceed with the Facebook page.
When I inquired her reasons, she said that a potential client of hers saw that she was on Facebook, blogged and Twittered and that they feared for their privacy. This potential client was in the nanny-sourcing business and a nanny herself. The family looking to work with her thought that their life or the life of their children might be described in detail on the internet and they were not interested in seeing that. She lost that client.
My advice to her was, maybe in the future she could disclose early on that she was involved in social media activities, but that she never blogged about her work, or she would sign an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) that would ensure she would not discuss work outside of work. There is a lesson here. Even if you are not working in a sensitive industry, you should be cognizant of the fact that your employer may not appreciate you blogging about them. Many companies are adopting policies, but why not do the right thing in preparation:
- If you must blog about work, consider doing so anonymously, blog under s pseudonym.
- Otherwise, consider putting a disclaimer on your blog. I have seen 2 good ones, here and here.
- Never blog during work hours. I prepare posts ahead of time and schedule for posting. Otherwise, I post before work, during lunch, or after work.
- The Golden Rule applies here as well, be nice or risk the consequences of losing your job.
Your problems don’t end with blogging, but include Facebook (and Twitter) as well. As a recent Swiss insurance company employee knows all too well. She had called in sick with a migraine, yet posted items on Facebook, her employer found them and fired her (Apr 2009).
Also in April 2009, the L.A. Times reported that colleges are checking out potential students on Facebook as well. Parents, take the advice of fellow social media coach and mother of teens, Beth Rosen of The Midlife Wife and get yourself a Facebook account, understand what it’s all about, figure out how it works, not to be Big Brother, but to safeguard your children’s future.
If you do nothing else in Facebook, check and adjust your privacy setting on Facebook to ensure that what you want to be private remains private.
Blog well, blog smart!
P.S. If you like the illustration associated with this blog post, it was done by my pal Sean Pete, an illustrator who has a site at http://itsnotart.com/. Check out his site to see more. He is available for hire!
I forgot to mention that this post covers Day 16 of the 31DBBB challenge