Online Rep U. Nation

“We’ve seriously sold our souls to the internet, ….and it seems that now we are buying them back. Our need and desire to be individualistic and expressive about our lives, photos, feelings and views, is the price we have paid.”

In the New Age of Social Media, it seems that nearly everyone is on board. Instead of having phone call conversations with one good friend once per week, we now have an unlimited “life-feed” of information available to us at the click of a mouse. WE can monitor the lives, updates, events, promotions, photos and status of hundreds of people per day, freely and easily. And WE’RE not the only one’s monitoring. In fact an industry has been created to delve into social media to gather what we once thought to be private, AND another industry has arise to clean up those little secrets you wish never got online.

Photos of new babies, broadcasts of new jobs landed, current moods and descriptive locations. All right there, for everyone to see, everyone that is looking. And by this, we can safely put Recruiters at the top of this list.

The great debate about whether or not it is an invasion of privacy to search someone’s social networking site for ‘character analysis’ of a candidate –has fallen on deaf ears.

Recent Studies have shown that more than 45 percent of employers and recruiters use Facebook or Twitter to screen job candidates. And this number is only growing. Whether it is considered ‘constitutionally right’ for a manager or boss to search Adam Jones’ linked-in profile, Facebook wall or Twitterfeed, after their interview has ended..doesn’t stop the actual act from happening. And it is a strong argument, upheld. Sure, Adam comes in with his perfect 4.0 GPA, impeccable references, polite manners and a relentless outlook of optimism. But not so behind the scenes in the land of the World Wide Web…there are photos of Adam doing kegstands at his Memorial Day weekend party, and doing belly shots off a scantily clad bartender– A huge departure from what the hiring Manager was shown just hours before in their ‘face to face’ interview. Further research found Adam’s twitter account had several racially charged insults and jokes, safely hidden behind the Twitter username RockStar88, still originating from the mind/heart/belliefs of Adam Jones nonetheless.

Kicking the Tires:

Just as any educated consumer would use a service such as a report to know where a used car has been, how many times the engine has been rebuilt, how many different owners, or accidents it has had…it is only common knowledge to know and believe, that right or wrong, social background checking is something that is very easily and very frequently performed. Accept this truth. Many new sites are popping up on a daily rate to assist people to obtain any information they would want about you. One of the most popular and highly controversial is is a human search engine, that for a reasonable fee, would show you anyone’s: age, address, phone number, e-mail address, religion, credit score, photos, affiliations, blog comments. ( Go ahead, search yourself on it,  you will be shocked at what you will find for free. ) is one of several websites that collect personal information. The accuracy of the information varies from person to person and site to site. This site is a very resourceful tool to recruiters to get a better look at your life beyond the suit, tie and uber promising smile.

A recent survey that was commissioned by and conducted by students of the Wharton Small Business Development Center asked college students if they were concerned that potential employers may discover their personal information on social networking sites.  And 51% said yes. Which is a shame given that these sites were originally designed to be used in a social setting (hence the name ‘social’).

Past? What Past?

Because there are sites like that will publicly divulge your information for a fee, and a great deal of nervous college grads that will be soon seeking employment, and needing to cover the tracks of their good times and life experience, there are now also companies that help to protect your reputation, or any negative information that may be available on the internet. One of the forerunners is, which claims to help you remove information from the Web you don’t want out there…….for a fee.

We’ve seriously sold our souls to the internet, ….and it seems that now we are buying them back. Our need and desire to be individualistic and expressive about our lives, photos, feelings and views, is the price we have paid. We’ve all seem to have been led down the yellow brick road of social media. Yes! It is fun, liberating, exciting and inviting. EVERYBODY is doing it! Only to be led to a glorious castle that is made up entirely of smoke and mirrors…and it’ll cost you a pretty penny to get back to Kansas.

Aside from trying to find sites to ‘protect’ our reputation, how about a bit more of a preventative measure. Accept the reality that what you’re putting online right now is going to shape your digital legacy.

Adam Jones may like to challenge himself to the occasional keg stand, but he may also be the most brilliant salesman your company has ever had. But because of sites like, he’ll never get that chance to shine, unless of course, he has a subscription fee to pay for a year (whose membership list is assuredly confidentlial).

3 thoughts on “Online Rep U. Nation

  1. I’m right there with you on the need for preventive measures. I’ve been advising my teenagers not to post anything they wouldn’t want on the front page of the Boston Globe.

    I visited and looked myself up, just for kicks. I sure hope recruiters have the sense to take this type of aggregated information with a grain of salt. Half the things listed about me were incorrect! One would be ill-advised to write a paper citing only information found online, and that holds true for trusting wholesale ANY information found online. And if you’re a recruiter and you interview someone who you feel is the perfect hire, and feel validated because you didn’t find any incriminating information online, you are whistling past the graveyard. Everyone has skeletons. Will they excel at the job while they are on your time? That is the question recruiters should be asking themselves.

  2. I agree completely, we should be responsible for what type and how much of our information is put out on the public internet for the world to see. It is disheartening to learn that sites like spokeo will benefit from the harvesting of personal information to be sold to people seeking it. What ever happened to protection of our rights? Our privacy? And in the instance that the info assocaiated with our names is INcorrect is even more disheartening. Please look yourself up. Do yourself a favor and remove yourself from this site. It is scary. Go to and take yourself off as well as loved ones. Also, check out their WOT raiting!

    As far as the recruitment aspect and process of background checking, let’s face facts. Whether we like it or not, when we go to an interview, we are on our best behavior, and in brand new clothes that the tags are still on them, Many companies perform credit checks, background checks and so forth. Now, with the internet and social networking sites, it is just MUCH more easier and accessible. I would agree with epeterson. Less worry for those of us who actually put thought and consideration into what we broadcast for the world to see.

    But sites that give random strangers out addresses and phone numbers for ten dollars.. NOT ACCEPTABLE AT ALL!

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