Think Before You Tweet

Remember that the beginning of social media? When we were younger and had no fear of repercussions. Everyone would post whatever they wanted when they wanted. No one ever considered the consequence that picture they were posting or that comment they were making. We didn’t know about privacy settings, and we didn’t care. It was all fun and games. Oh to be so young and naive.

Now, we know that definitely is not the case. As the millennials, we have observed these social media fails as they happened. We saw those similar scenarios. Like, someone posted a picture that was obviously meant to be private. Then their mother logged on to their Facebook, saw the picture, and then grounded them. Or they got an embarrassing tweet from a family member that all their friends could see.

Because of that we don’t post as much now or comment as carelessly. We have set up the proper privacy settings and blocked the right people. We are careful, but are we really?

In the world today employers, hiring managers, and even coworkers are looking you up on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, etc. According to The Web Means Everything, 75% of US recruiters are required by their companies to do extensive research on candidates. 93% of those recruiters look at your social media profiles first. 70% of recruiters have rejected those candidates solely because of what they found online. When it comes to screening, 76% of recruiters use Facebook the most, 53% use Twitter and 48% use LikendIn.

You might be thinking that privacy settings are enough. You won’t be that one person who gets caught. Did you know that employers have a way around these settings? For example, anyone can see the pictures you are tagged in by doing a quick search. All they have to do is type “photos of (insert name here)”. Simple.

If they can find out bad and inappropriate pictures of you, what else can they find?

This might seem like I’m trying to just scare you. But, seriously, employers can find anything if they are motivated. I’m just trying to warn you know about what could happen if you aren’t careful. If in the heat of the moment you post a mean comment or make a racist joke before you had time to really sit and think about it and it could cost you your future.

So, here are something that you should definitely not do. If you have done this or it is on one of your platforms, delete it or untag yourself like now.

  • First things first, inappropriate photos are a no go
    1. No photos of yourself drinking, taking drugs, shown in any sexual way, etc, (basically anything that can be construed as wrong)
    2. 46% of recruiters say that they reject a candidate if they have some kind of inappropriate photo
    3. 41% say the reject the client if it depicts drug use and drinking even if over 21
    4. Stories of caution:
      1. A teacher (of course she is over 21) posted a picture on Facebook of her holding wine and beer. She was asked to resign.
      2. A teacher in Denver posted this picture of herself smoking weed on Twitter. (what is with these teachers?) She was fired.
  • Complain about the job online where just about everyone can see it
    1. Basically don’t talk about your job online. But if you complain about it, you look especially bad
    2. 36% of recruiters rejected a candidate because they complained about previous employers
    3. Even while on the job you can be fired for the most innocent of comments
    4. Story of caution:
      1. Kimberely Swan tweeted this: “first day at work. omg (oh my God)!! So dull!!’ And then she said this two days later: “all I do is shred holepunch n scan paper!!! omg!’, while another fortnight of apparent misery produced the moan,’im so totally bord!!!’ Pretty harmless words, and yet, the next day she was fired on the spot.
  • Blow your own cover
    1. If you take off work with an excuse and then tweet or post on Facebook, your employer will find out
    2. Even after you leave the job, this could haunt you
      1. 13% of recruiters reject candidates because lying about an absence
    3. Story of caution
      1. An intern decided to take off work with the excuse “something came up at work” and then posted a picture of himself on Facebook (see below) holding a beer, dressed as Tinkerbell at a Halloween party. Of course, we all know the end to this story. His boss found out, commented, and fired the kid
  • Make fun of your boss, clients, potential employer
    1. If something happens at work don’t go calling your boss names on your Twitter or talking about your clients on Facebook
      1. 36% of recruiters reject candidates who had bad mouthed previous employees
    2. Bragging doesn’t work either. It makes you look just as bad as if you were making fun of your job
    3. Story of caution
      1. Connor Riley, 22, tweeted this after she was offered a job: “Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work.” We all know what happened to her by now. She didn’t get that job.
  • Make derogatory comments that relate to race, gender, or religion
    1. Just keep these comments to yourself if you have them
    2. 28% (what a small number) of recruiters reject candidates who have any kind of this content on their social media platforms
    3. Story of caution
      1. Radio show producer Mike Bacsik tweeted about the NBA playoffs and he just happened to tweet, “Congrats to all the dirty Mexicans in San Antonio”. Do you even have to wonder what happened to him? FIRED!

All the things might seem obvious to you. They were probably obvious to these people who ended up getting themselves fired. I recommend that in the heat of the moment just wait and then re-read your tweet or blog, look again at that picture or comment. Is this something you would want your employer or future employer to see? Is this something that will potentially get you fired? If the answer is yes well you better delete that sucker before you end of accidentally posting it. Just remember all my stories of caution. It could happen to you.



2 thoughts on “Think Before You Tweet

  1. Hey there,

    I really enjoyed reading this post. Like my own post this week, you covered everything that I didn’t get to. While I was focusing on grammar and proper publicity, you focused more on content, which I found really cool. It is a scary thing to think about employers creeping through your social media. That even if you’re 21, a bad drinking photo can be a negative check on your option to hire. Luckily, we can still have some options of showing off our fun side either in private or only showing what could be considered “worldly appropriate.”

    Good job,


  2. It’s so funny how obvious this advice would seem, and yet how completely necessary it is to say it. One of my good friends was fired from our job last year for tweeting privileged information about the job, and nearly got into legal trouble because of it. It’s admittedly hard to know what’s appropriate at times. If employers want you to be fun and personable, is it still “inappropriate” to post a picture of you and a friend holding a single beer when you’re both over 21? Ugh, it gets tricky.

    But I really liked your humanizing examples of real people who have misused media, and this is especially relevant in relation to the article we discussed about Justine Sacco. I think it’s also importatnt to stress that making your profile private does not give you liberty to post whatever you want! As we’ve all been warned so many times — it only takes one screenshot to make that post live forever.

    I’d like to see some examples of ways to use social media positively, not just avoiding the clear pitfalls but using it to create a personality. We know what we’re NOT supposed to do, but what exactly ARE we supposed to do?

    Great post!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s