Apr 07, 2009

It's Spring Break: Don't Get Photographed Doing Anything Stupid (or Tweet About It Later)

It's spring break, when thousands of college students follow the time-honored tradition of heading to warmer climates to party. But these days, when the job market for soon-to-be college graduates looks pretty bleak, spring break revelers might want to remember this: Prospective employers have Internet access. If a search for your name turns up, say, a photo of you at a party with the caption "Drunken Pirate," your job prospects might go from grim to nonexistent.

Recent news reports show that applicants and employees alike don't seem to realize that their Internet posts are public -- as in, employers can find them, read them, and perhaps figure out who posted them. That's what "theconnor" learned recently when, after being offered a job at Cisco, he tweeted the news, along with this commentary: "Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work." Soon, someone from Cisco 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." Then, the website "Cisco Fatty" was created to memorialize the whole incident. (Check out the whole story here.

Then there's the teacher who got fired for his MySpace page, which he said he created to communicate with students outside of school and build a better relationship with them. Apparently, the road to a better relationship was paved with nude photos, cursing, and inappropriate conversations. The teacher lost his wrongful termination lawsuit.

To learn more about why your company needs a policy on employee use of blogs and social networking sites, see Nolo's article Employee Posts on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and Blogs.