Facebook (Courtesy photo)

Barker: It pays to have a thoughtful social media presence

Not having one is bad, having a sketchy one is worse

Ah, the impetuousness and indiscretion of youth.

For those of us of a certain vintage, we can look back on those heady days and say, ‘thank goodness Facebook and Twitter did not exist.’ For the generation that is coming of age now, however, have been on social media throughout those sometimes embarrassing angst-filled teen years.

As we have seen all too often, old social media posts resurfacing can have the most dire of consequences.

RELATED: Social media spreads misinformation like fungus

RELATED: Instagram and other social media not worth losing sleep over

In one 2o18 study, 70 per cent of employers said they use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process. And 43 per cent said they use the platforms to check on current employees. Some even have corporate policies around what employees can and cannot do in their online lives.

While it does raise some issues around privacy, this is the world we live in today.

It’s not all bad though. Just 24 per cent said they are looking for reasons not to hire someone. A majority (58 per cent) said they are looking for information supporting a candidate’s qualifications.

And it goes both ways. Just as a profile full of questionable behaviour can be a red flag, so too can a lack of internet presence. Almost half (47 per cent) said they would not call a person for an interview who they couldn’t find online.

Right or wrong, it is kind of unusual these days.

Employers should be cautious, however, not to put too much stock in personal aspects of a person’s online activities, particularly dated stuff, unless, of course, it is truly egregious.

Even before social media, people had personal lives and we more or less stayed out of them.

If a person is qualified, professional and does a good job, their personal lives are really none of our business.

That is not to say there isn’t responsibility on the other side. Social media is not private, it just makes good sense to keep your online presence relatively clean.

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