I have a friend, who recently lost a very close family member. Unfortunately, week after week, she posts lengthy passages on Facebook about her family, her feelings, her struggles, her state of mind, etc. My friend, let’s call her…Maria, quit her job to take care of her mother before she passed, and is still unemployed.
The problem with the “Internet” is that once something is posted, it can never be taken back. A mutual friend said “Does Maria ever want to go back into the workforce?” Her actions beg the question “How much information is too much information?”
Maria’s rants delved in all the emotions associated with grief. She struggled with her faith and religious beliefs and she expressed a great deal of rage. She lived through this range of emotion via Facebook. Unfortunately, she is not fully aware of the repercussions that these posts may have on her future. Then I got to thinking about the repercussion of addressing her online behaviour through an online forum.
The article Employees Must Practice Caution When Using Social Media refers to employees; however, article can also apply to potential employees. Employers are looking for serious people who will fit in with their company culture. Often they browse the social media accounts of potential candidates to see if there are any posts that are controversial. This practice is becoming more common among organizations. The article Should social media activity cost you your job? discusses the issues of policy, trust and privacy.
We saw several examples in the past federal election of how social media mistakes (even as a teenager) can come back to haunt you, ultimately altering the course of your future. http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canada-election-2015-ala-buzreba-tweets-1.3195193
Does commenting on or “liking” her status posts encourage her continue this type of oversharing. As it is done in such a public forum, will this have negative repercussions for me? My suggestion to Maria is that she avoid discussing religious or political beliefs on Facebook or any other social media platform. She may want refrain from using inappropriate language or commenting on the actions of others. Another idea calling a friend and chatting about how things are going over coffee. There is a point where oversharing becomes problematic. When it starts making others feel uncomfortable. The fact is that social media isn’t private. Even if you send a message or create a post in a private group. It’s on the Internet. Social media is a platform to share ideas and opinions but as a diary or a form of therapy I think Maria should go back to pen and paper.