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How to protect your online reputation

You never know who is reading what you post

by Excelle  |  2368 views  |  1 comment  |      Rate this now! 

By Tania Khadder for WomenCo.

The internet is buzzing with tales of the latest web 2.0 casualty -- the Cisco Fatty. The man who managed to jeopardize a new, high paying job, in 140 characters or less.  

After receiving an offer from communications giant Cisco Systems, the jobseeker Twittered about it, telling his followers that although he had been offered a “fatty” paycheck, he wasn’t sure he would be able to endure the commute and “hating the work.”   


Soon thereafter, Cisco’s Tim Levad saw the tweet, and responded: “Who is the hiring manager? I’m sure they would love to know that you will hate the work. We here at Cisco are versed in the web.”

We don’t know yet how this story ends. We do, however, know that there is a big lesson to be learned here. The same lesson we can take from other, similarly excruciating stories of social networking, and its assault on professionalism.

We all know that these days, the line between work and play is increasingly blurred. And social networking sites are no longer just for extroverted teenagers or tech-savvy college students.

Your mom is on Facebook. So, more likely than not, so is your boss. And you can’t exactly ignore his friend request. What you can do is avoid embarrassment, and possible joblessness, by being smart about your online activity.

Nothing is really private. Keep in mind that anything you say online could potentially be seen by your employer. Even if they aren’t a friend or follower, and even if your account is set to private. You never know which one of your contacts is friends with your boss, knows his wife, or goes to school with his children. It’s called the Web for a reason. Virtual connections are vast, and they aren’t always transparent. If you wouldn’t want your employer to see it, keep it offline. It’s good practice to just assume that once you’ve put it online, it’s public.

Watch what you say. Avoid badmouthing your boss, company, or co-workers. Don’t tweet about your “soul-crushing office job,” or how many Sudoku puzzles you managed to solve this afternoon, while you were supposed to be finishing up that status report. If you called in sick, don’t post pictures of your day at the mall with your best friend. Similarly, if your boss can see that you updated your status 12 times between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., took twelve quizzes and wrote twenty-five things about yourself, they will probably (rightly) assume you have been less than productive.

Watch that comic streak. It sounded funny in your head. It may even have read funny to your friends. But to someone who doesn’t know you, it was crude and derogatory. Keep in mind that taken out of context, a lot of otherwise hilarious comments might be construed as offensive. A few LOLs are just not worth the risk.

About the Author

Excelle is a networking site for the career-minded woman.

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1 comment so far...

  • On Facebook you can block yourself from being searchable. Yes you risk not finding that long lost friend, but then you can't be searched by your boss either (unless you're friends with lots of coworkers).

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Mich on 1st September 2010