More on self-PR and exposing yourself on social networks

November 27, 2007

Further to my recent post on how young people are overexposing themselves on social networks and my earlier post on self-PR online there are a couple of issues being discussed on this topic in the news today.

First up, the Guardian has a piece on the legality of using the internet to investigate job candidates. They’re saying that it could actually prove to be illegal and an infringement of a candidates privacy if potential employers use the internet to look into their background. Academic institutions could also be at risk of infringement here as they too are apparently using the web and social networks to look into applicants backgrounds. Personally I cannot see how this could be the case. The information is freely available and has been posted with that knowledge (or at least the poster should be aware). It can’t contravene data protection laws in that case. Of course, turning down a candidate because of their Facebook profile would be against HR laws but I’m sure no company would use that as the reason for not hiring someone, they’ll come up with another reason the profile will just have made their minds up.

Secondly, there’s an article on the Inquirer which suggests that the UK’s Revenue and Customs department (yes the one’s who loast all that personal data) are now using social networks such as Facebook and MySpace to catch criminals who have gone missing. An unnamed customs official claims that social networks are proving to be a useful source of information for tracking wanted persons down. The official suggests that it has led to a number of successful arrests.

So all this goes to show that your trail of data left behind on these sites is highly useful to anyone wanting to trace or assess you. Self PR is hugely important now, and this will get more and more important as the information connectivity provided by the web gets more pervasive into society.

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