It is impossible to get away from social media and networks these days. For many people and most students, Facebook and Twitter have become an extension of their daily lives and it has become second nature to update the world about their lives. From a solely social standpoint, this can be a great thing. People are connected to each other on an unprecedented level. When our social and professional lives start to mix, however, things can become tricky. You never know who is going to be looking you up and how hard those pictures you forgot about posting will come back to bite you.
Whenever you apply for something (a job, a scholarship, a research position, or even graduate school), you are fooling yourself if you think that reviewers limit themselves to only what you put in your application. Increasingly, employers and search committees to search out applicants on Google and Facebook before making their final decisions. Regardless of the position for which you are applying, in the end you will be spending substantial amounts of time working closely with other people. Before someone agrees to bring you on board, they want to make sure that you will fit with the existing team. It is up to you to think about how you are portraying yourself online.
Do you really need to upload that picture of you holding up your red plastic cup and playing beer pong? Do you really need to tweet about how ridiculous you think your psych professor is? Does having a status update about how bored you were in class today really portray you in the best light?
My advice is to think before you post, and if you can’t, make sure that your account is private. You never know who is going to be looking you up and how hard those pictures you forgot about posting will come back to bite you. Have a look here if you don’t believe me. If you haven’t already done so, go ahead and Google yourself. Make sure that you clear your cookies first, or use a computer that you don’t normally use for social media. If you can find something incriminating, so can other people.