But I Didn’t Post That Picture!


That’s a picture of me, my husband, my father-in-law, and my kid on Halloween last year. There’s nothing horrific about it (unless you are not a Packer’s fan, which is a different issue entirely), but it’s not a picture that I posted to Facebook. My neighbor, who took the picture in her living room, posted it and tagged me in it. No problem – it’s cute and funny and I don’t care that it’s there for many (many!!!) to see.

But what if it were a picture that I didn’t want out there? I would have to do something about it — look into my Facebook privacy settings, ask my neighbor to take it down, or something!

And what if it had been a picture that, in fact, made me look irresponsible or, god forbid, unprofessional?  (I know I know – some of you think that dressing my kid up in a cheesehead is reason enough to call CPS).  Seriously — what if it potentially compromised my professional or personal reputation, Packer’s jokes aside?

I am learning so much about social media right now by co-teaching this course that I came up with a workshop idea for our Career Services office. The idea came to me from an article called New Rules for Job Applicants that one of our students found and shared with the rest of us.  It also came from one of my other students (not taking the course) who asked me for advice about a very similar situation she experienced — someone posted something about her that she did not want posted on LinkedIn (in a “recommendation” note), and what should she do about it?

So – what do you think of this workshop idea? Any suggestions?

Understanding Social Media To Manage Your Professional Reputation
In the world of Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, and YouTube, potential employers and people in your network are able to do a new kind of background check — one that is informal, but informational! What do you need to know about using social media so that you are thoughtfully managing your professional reputation while participating in these online communities? In this 4-day online workshop, participants will consider this question and will learn about aspects of specific social media tools that can make or break a career.


9 thoughts on “But I Didn’t Post That Picture!

  1. This is an interesting post! I think we already might be moving to this point he made – or some of us are (or, ok, to be fair, I think I am):

    Perhaps those whose lives are more visible online will be discriminated against. But it is also possible the inverse could be true. Those who have no online history have no discernible, verifiable track record, no narrative about how their values and thinking has evolved over time. While such a history will be filled with flaws and mistakes, it will at least be open and visible, whereas those who have lived offline will have a history that is opaque and verifiable only by their own handpicked references.

    Alex- I want to share this one with our class too! Thanks!

  2. I think it’s a good idea. It’s so easy to get carried away with meeting people and adding them to your network before you really know them.

    Also, too many people are unaware of the security options available to them to protect their identity and information on social networks and the internet in general.

    Perhaps this could be something that every class could contribute to as security is a constantly changing entity.

  3. I’m curious…would it be interesting to explore, perhaps as a required core course, the general topic of ethics and social media? Security, fraud, privacy, personal and professional reputations, journalistic integrity, might all be dialogue areas.

  4. I love Lorrie’s suggestion, touching on the larger issues, unresolved as they may be.

    Managing one’s own reputation online is fairly simple, if you live by this rule: Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want posted on a public bulletin board, where anyone might see it. I apply this rule to “private” communications, too. Ultimately, no e-communication is truly private. It’s all recorded, every bit, every byte.

    Melanie’s case brings up the need to know how to use the various search tools to monitor what others are saying about you, too. You can’t control it, but you can be aware and ready to explain it if it comes up.

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