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Watch Out for Digital Dirt March 21, 2010

Posted by Barbara Nixon in social media, success.
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Sweep by QualityFrog.When you’re preparing for a job (or internship) search, it’s time to be sure that you don’t have any “digital dirt” that a potential employer may uncover.

Imagine you’re in a job interview right now. How would you answer this question? “After our interview today, I am going to look you up online. How do you think my impression of you will change after I do this?”

Think about what’s visible in your Facebook profile, MySpace page, your blog, Flickr photos, LinkedIn profile and anywhere else that you’ve posted info about yourself. Check to see if others have tagged you in photos. Even if you’ve made your info “private,” it’s still possible that the information is accessible. (Even if a web page is taken down, you may still get to it through the Way Back Machine if you know when it was accessible.)

A discussion on this topic at PR OpenMic brought several things to consider:

” We google/facebook/myspace everyone we hire, and it’s pretty much standard practice out in the trenches.” — Michael Dolan

“I have, in the past, Googled and Facebooked my students before each new semester begins. The stuff I’ve found. So, I copy the photos and, when classes start, put the photos up on the large screen in class as I call roll. My point to them is, “If I can find it, your potential future internships and employers can find it, too.” Freaks them out, but certainly makes the point. Again, only rarely, but still … the stuff I’ve found… yikes!” — Robert French

“A good point a new PR professional brought up when speaking to one of my classes is blocking your friends list from public view. Who you associate with can be digital dirt sometimes.” — Beth Evans

Let me close with a profound thought by a PR practitioner in Washington, DC :

“Just ask yourself: Would they trust their organization’s reputation to someone who can’t keep his or her own intact?” — Felipe Benitez

Just some food for thought.

[Cross-posted from my Public Relations Matters blog.]

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