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My Two Faces (book)

February 12, 2010

We’ve all read about horror stories of job candidates being “searched” and employers finding less than flattering results coming from sites like Facebook.  Those spring break “good times” end up affecting professionals with withdrawn job offers or an employer’s dwindling interest in hiring an individual caught on film.   Every career services professional will tell you to keep the information out there on the web professional in nature and as to not sabotage your future career.  Now, a lot can be done with settings and privacy however it is the tagging of pictures that you have little control over.  You can go and remove the tag, but making sure you get every picture untagged is a daunting task and if you have a lot of tagging friends you are bound to miss one or two or ten.

You may think that this totally ruins the fun of Facebook and the social media/networking movement.  Those “serious” people had to get their nose in it and ruin it for the rest of us who were having a perfectly good time talking to our high school buddies about that time we……… (fill in the last part of the sentence).  So my suggestion to you is to have two, that’s right, TWO accounts and allow yourself to have your two personalities.  You can be your fun, Farmville, Funfish, Mafia War, send a virtual hug self and you can also have your professional, serious, networking self.  The key is to keep the two separate and this can be done by using different names.

I am going to use myself as a case study.

My Professional Facebook Self

Here is where I interact with students, post information about Herzing Online, share job searching information, post blogs, share pictures of Herzing events and get tagged in pictures of graduations, charity events and fun work stuff.  This is my professional face.  I can be a little silly (hence the moustache and minor age discretion) but use this account to interact with my professional contacts, students, co-workers and graduates from 8am to 5pm on and off while I am at work.

My Personal, Not So Professional, Facebook Self

This is where my friends from high school and I chat it up, reliving good times, talking smack about each other and our unprofessional selves.  This is where I get into heated debates about politics, current news stories and reality TV.  This is also where I have 1400 fake friends that I play Mafia Wars with each and every night like clockwork.  I am an obsessed level 616Mogul who has almost completed the Bangkok tier and after doing so will spend my 5000 daily energy points earning high end Moscow weapons to defend myself and my Mafia family.  I am a proud gaming geek and now you know it.

But I ask – does a potential employer need to know this?  No.  (Although my current employer will after reading this blog)  I use a fake name which has become an ongoing joke with my friends because I change it every couple of weeks to something new and colorful.  Just last month I was Mrs. Johnny Depp.  FYI – changing your name on Facebook changes it on every picture you are tagged in.  This account is the space where I can upload pictures of my lunch, my friends, and my vacations.  It is also where I can exert my opinions and thoughts outside of my professional world.  It’s my “fun face” where I go to play from 8pm to 10pm in the comfort of my home, watching the shows I’ve saved on DVR and helping my kids with their homework.

The key is that my “fun face” doesn’t and can’t affect my professional face; they are separate from each other.  They are two sides of my personality that I like to share but they are shared with very separate groups of people.  So my lesson in all of this is to have you rethink how you are putting yourself out there using social media.  Everything you do on the web creates a footprint on the web.  As a matter of practice you should Google yourself once a month and see what comes up.  Granted if your name is John Doe it may be hard to tell who is really you and who isn’t.  Regardless make it a practice to look at your web footprint once and awhile.  If you have a fun Facebook page – GREAT but consider what it says about you to a potential employer and your colleagues.  If you don’t want them to know about your secret Farmville obsession perhaps you need another account for your work you.

Amy Chastek aka Mafia Wars Addict

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