Amybeth Hale – Research Goddess

Do You Kiss Your Mother With That Mouth?
September 29, 2009, 7:00 am
Filed under: Career Advice, college, Networking/Social Media

Alright – I admit it, I do occasionally drop an S*** bomb or call someone an a$$hole. And a good friend of mine told me that you know a person is trustworthy if they swear freely in front of you (I agree – but only to a certain extent). However, nothing makes my skin crawl more than the F-word, or using G/D. ESPECIALLY when I see this on social networks where the whole world can see, and search.

My focus lately with AT&T has been supporting our college recruiting efforts, so I have been lurking around and checking out where students are hanging out on social media. What I’ve found on Twitter has surprised me a little bit – both for the good and the bad.

The good – students DO in fact use Twitter, contrary to prior popular belief. There is even a new community called CampusTweet where you can opt-in to be included in your university ‘directory’, either as a student or an alumni. This is a rapidly growing and self-nominated community and has proven to be a great resource for my search efforts.

The bad – I still haven’t quite figured out what the general use of Twitter is for students. Some have told me it’s to take a break from studying and break up the boredom of the day. OK – that’s what a lot of us professionals use it for as well. Some use it to follow sports or celebrities. Again, par for the course with the rest of the Twitterverse. However, a couple of things I’m seeing are quite disturbing to me – take a look:

These are from college student accounts (the names have been fuzzed out to protect the foul-mouthed)

Students: how many times must you be told that THIS STUFF IS ALL ARCHIVED AND SEARCHABLE. We have created our own fishbowl here – there is always someone looking and reading, and when employers see stuff like this, we can’t help but cringe. We all get frustrated and spew forth some 4-letter words from time to time, but doing so on social media, on the Internet, for the whole world to see, is generally not a good idea.

From an employer’s perspective, I cannot stress ENOUGH how bad this looks. Two of the most important lessons that should be learned from this:

  1. The younger you are, the harder you’re going to have to work to be taken seriously. It sucks, but it’s true students. Being young is both a blessing and a curse. If you want to be taken seriously in the professional realm, you’re going to have to work that much harder to portray yourself as such. That includes refraining from profanity on all of your social networks. **This also includes having an appropriate avatar.** Ladies, looking like a hoochie-mama in your pics is going to get you treated like one – by both guys and gals. Guys, looking like a slob who just rolled out of bed and can’t seem find his belt to hold up his ripped-up jeans is not going to get you a job. Sorry.
  2. Someone is always watching. Whether you like it or not, social media search is happening every day. It’s my job, and it’s the job of thousands more out there. You may say “I’m not looking for a job, leave me alone and let me do my thing!” Fair enough – you have every right to express yourself. However – situations can change on a dime. Would you seriously jeopardize your chances at employment for the sake of “expressing yourself” by dropping an F-bomb? Just filter things through a brain cell before posting, updating, or blurting out.

Students – please please please be cognizant of your online actions. The world we live in today is transparent, and everything you do is going to be watched and scrutinized whether you like it or not. Don’t give people more ammunition than is already available. Think about the things that you type and post. It could come back to bite you in the A** if you’re not careful.


5 Comments so far
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Amybeth, you and I must be on the same wavelength this week. I have been thinking about this topic a lot recently after seeing a shocking (literally, made me gasp) Facebook post. I’ve been trying to work out the best way to blog about it. Students really need to be mindful of what they say online. Great post.

Comment by Libby Krah

College kids say a lot of things and will regret them if it’s online. It’s there forever it seems. And, you can’t use the excuse “I was young and in college anymore.” Why? Because they knew better.

Recently I had to pull the plug on one college grad after they talked about doing drugs at a concert with their boyfriend. It was on their blog.

Comment by Michael Glenn

Well said.

Hopefully the wise ones will take this admonition to heart and change in time before it will come back to haunt them.

Comment by Daniel Johnson, Jr.

This is an excellent post and so important for college students to understand. Thanks Amy! I will share this on Twitter for sure. Look forwar to following your posts.

Dustin DeVries

Comment by Dustin DeVries

It’s one thing to use social media as a form of self expression, but another to just be totally foul, and I think the examples you pointed out definitely cross the line.

Comment by Andrea

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