The day after I read my classmates post on Facebook screening from employers and workplace discrimination, I received a worrisome text from my dad- “Clean up your Facebook and get rid of all “silly” pictures – I will explain later.” This of course sent me into panic mode about who was seeing what on my Facebook. My Facebook is as private as it gets, and even without the privacy settings there I’m confident that it could never be deemed inappropriate, so I was confused as to what my dad was getting at.
He later told me that he had been talking with Human Resources at TD Bank, the company he works for. He stated that part of their screening process is to check out their prospective employees social media presence, specifically looking for evidence of inappropriate behavior or anything that their company would deem unfit for employment. I knew I had nothing to worry about in this sense, and that my dad, who isn’t even on Facebook, was just being a protective and helpful parent. However, this bothered me just the same.
Facebook has always a been for personal use. It is a means for connecting and staying in touch with friends when we are far apart. If Facebook was a professional, censored network it would be called LinkedIn. Making funny faces in pictures and posting them on Facebook to share with friends is also now a means for how we document our lives. No one joined Facebook to impress a company, we joined Facebook to connect to our friends and post our memories. It scares me to think that maybe we need to find another outlet to do this, out of fear that one company will deem that if I stick my tongue out on camera or go cross-eyed I may be unfit for employment. I understand the reason this is valuable information to corporations, that an uncensored view into the lives of applicants will give them the best idea of the person that they are. But personal lives and work lives are kept very separated by many. Obviously work is not the place I would walk around making silly faces, but there is no way to exemplify this on Facebook. I would always ere on the side of keeping a clean social media presence, but social media has definitely blurred the lines that separate our personal lives from our professional lives.