If you read my article last week you know that I talked about social media and your resume, what to do, what not to do, and so on. One of the things that I mentioned was how important it is to use social media responsibly. Even if you are not using it specifically for your job search or career you need to use your judgment about what you put out there for the world to see. So, I’m going off my usual topic of resumes/cover letters this week to relate a true and timely story that happened just this week.
You know the saying – “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”. Well, think of it this way, “What you put on the internet stays on the internet”. Let’s say you post a picture then decide to remove it; end of story, right? Wrong. You have no idea if someone else copied it, linked to it, shared it, or saved it. So even if you removed it that doesn’t mean it is gone. With an overwhelming number of people having picture and video capability available at all times on their phone you never know what someone else is posting online either.
Ok, on to my story. There is a gentleman that I know who posted a video on his Facebook page. I’m not going to focus on the actual content of the video but will say it bordered on something like someone tying a cherry stem in a knot with their tongue. Basically it was a weird skill that he felt others needed to see to appreciate. He was not the subject of the video, he was the one taking the video. So he took this video of his friend and posted it on Facebook.
Not a big deal, right? Well, a few days later while at work he received a call from HR requesting a meeting. At the meeting he was surprised to be confronted with the video and a complaint from another employee that they thought it was inappropriate and offensive. You might be thinking, how does HR get involved with something on someone’s personal Facebook page? Well, this dunderhead (for lack of a better term) took the video of his friend while at work. The person who complained watched the video and found it offensive. Upon recognizing that the video was taken in this guy’s office they felt the need to complain to HR.
As I listened to the story I thought, well duh! You should have been working not videotaping semi-offensive material for your Facebook page. This is definitely an example of how social media can come back and bite you. It would have been a completely different situation if he had not taken the video at work. If someone watched it and was offended there was not much they could do beside form a poor opinion of the guy. While it wouldn’t have involved the HR department at his place of employment it could still damage his reputation professionally by being out there as an example of his character.
He ended up taking the video down and there were no repercussions except for maybe a bit of embarrassment. Can a lesson be learned? Of course, be careful with what you put out there. He learned the hard way and I’m sure will be more selective in the future with what he posts to online sites.
by Megan Koehler