Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Power of Blogging

To a newcomer, blogging may seem to be an innocuous practice. Newbies should beware of a keen bloodhound called Google.

In a MSN news article online today, I read that individuals' care-free web personas, scrutinized by potential employers, were hurting their prospects of getting a new job. The article discussed Facebook party photos ending up in the wrong hands and the cropping up of new companies, comprised undoubtedly of lawyers, to destroy slander and to protect "one's reputation."

Hm, this mouse smells a lucrative new trend in mitigation!

New bloggers: achtung, babies. After only one week of blogging away, commenting freely, reviewing restaurants and Twittering, I did a casual search of my own blog name. Many links - nay, pages and pages of links - emerged. Every comment, every semicolon had been found by Google. Sniffed out like a bloodhound. Comments to comments were even found. It was amazing.

Washingtonienne was canned for blogging about trysts at the office. I think most people in sensitive positions, gainfully employed, would not choose to do that. But consider more subtle biases and repercussions of off-the-wall comments or mean notes. Consider how a potential employer - or client- would view any of it. Or all of it. Anonymity on the web is virtually non-existent.

Now, if everyone went around censoring their blogs to oblivion, it would be a pretty dull blogosphere. So, please don't, for our entertainment's sake.

Just be careful.


LJ said...

There's a balance between going overboard on the censoring and dishing too much of the dirt. I'm totally with you, SW.

I think the key is keeping your name out of your postings. It keeps it from coming up in searches. Employers are most likely to search based on the email account you put on your resume along with your name, if they decide to do some snooping.

A little unsolicited commentary from an HR soul...

But another note is that it's easily accessible and there's nothing holding them back, but it's not exactly "kosher" or in the best business practice to pull up photos and the like of a potential employee. Opens a whole can of worms on discrimination issues.

SciWonk said...

I think it would be hard to prove that party photos were the reason someone was turned down for a job. Potential employer could claim a million other reasons - though the photos were the real reason. However, I trust your official opinion on this matter.

Good tip on the name, too. Thanks for the commentary, LJ.

LJ said...

I once had a potential employer log into multiple photo albums of mine on Ofoto. That was a bit more blatant usage of the info online... and was the moment in which (1) said albums came down off the website and (2) my MySpace profile became private...