Even if you have been living under a rock for the past several years you are likely to be aware of the importance of keeping tabs of what is being said on the Internet about you personally, your business, your brand etc.
The theory is that if something is out there that could harm your reputation or brand etc it could hurt your ability to get a job or a client etc. Old news, right?
Now, it looks like formalized social media background checks could become the norm for employers when doing their due diligence. A company called Social Intelligence is providing the service. How they get that information is completely out of your control but knowing what they look for isn’t.
Gizmodo reports on this phenomenon and clears the air on some early misinformation
First, some context: In May, the FTC gave a company called Social Intelligence the green light to run background checks of your Internet and social media history. The media made a big hulabaloo out of the ruling. And it largely got two important facts wrong.
Contrary to initial reports, Social Intelligence doesn’t store seven years worth of your social data. Rather it looks at up to seven years of your history, and stores nothing.
The second was the idea that it was looking for boozy or embarrassing photos of you to pass along to your employer. In fact it screens for just a handful of things: aggressive or violent acts or assertions, unlawful activity, discriminatory activity (for example, making racist statements), and sexually explicit activity. And it doesn’t pass on identifiable photos of you at all. In other words, your drunken kegstand photos are probably fine as long as you’re not wearing a T-shirt with a swastika or naked from the waist down.
What the post was trying to say is that while this may seem a bit daunting to some (take note you idiots that have no filters on your online activity), it’s not the end of the social world as we know it.
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In fact, if employers take the easy route and rely on a service like this to do their social media monitoring for prospective employees you could get away easy. Think about the example above. If the drunken kegstand photo requires the extra trimmings (i.e. an offensive T-shirt and nudity) to trigger a red flag that gets you a fail (it’s just a pass/fail result apparently) then it’s good for you. Let’s be honest, if that is something you are proud of in a social sense, most reasonable employers wouldn’t care if you were doing it in formal wear, that’s an activity that shows a person might have some issues and isn’t hiring material.
The Gizmodo post goes on to explain some techniques that could help with getting around some potential social media background check concerns. I will warn you that the author of the post did fail the test and if you do read it you can get an idea why.
At any rate, how are keeping tabs on these things? Do you even remember what YOU have posted let alone what friends may have posted that are public? Are you giving information to employers and other that will ultimately lead to your demise?
As for you brand marketers and employers of anyone at all, would your current employees pass a test if your team was being vetted for a project or contract?
So many things to consider with so few people considering them until it is usually way too late. Gotta love the Interwebz.