The Guardian has a story about this topic that I’ve blogged about before here.

An admissions tutor from Cambridge Uni in the UK has admitted that he checks up on potential students Facebook profiles. Of course the uni’s insist that a students success or failure to be admitted is purely down to their performance in interviews, academic record etc, not because of what their social network profile contains.

Many people feel this is really intrusive, but I believe it’s a natural course for anyone to take when there is information out there. This again reinforces my belief that you should never post anything up on a social network that you wouldn’t want your boss/tutor/Mum/priest to see!

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So Pew and American Internet Life says that the number of U.S. users who have Googled themselves has doubled from 22% to 47% since 2002.

No surprise as far as I’m concerned, with the rise of social networking and all the scare stories of identity theft I’m surprised it’s not a lot higher than that. Give it another year or so and I reckon it will be nearer to 80% as the concept of Self Pr Online becomes one that everyone is aware of.

I’ve written previously abut a concept I’ve termed Self PR Online (here and here) but it seems my posts aren’t getting to the right people.

Now CNN have jumped on the bandwagon and written a piece about a Facebook group called ’30 Reasons Girls Should Call it a Night’. It’s basically a Facebook group with over 170,000 members (mostly women) devoted to tales of drunken debauchery and lurid times (all good clean fun in my opinion).

However, it seems the women who are members of this group could really do with taking note of my blog posts as they’re (apparently) posting all kinds of imagery that may not go down so well with employers or colleges.

Personally I find this quite amusing, as in my opinion any employer worth working for wouldn’t care about a few drunken photos and any person who posts really bad photos is probably unemployable anyway đŸ˜‰

The advice I gave in previous posts still stands, don’t post anything you wouldn’t want an employer to see, these things have a habit of getting out and becoming public!

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.