Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Facebook Is NOT Las Vegas

What happens on Facebook may not necessarily stay on Facebook.

Over the weekend, a 'You know you grew up in (my hometown) when...' group cropped up on Facebook. It blossomed from about 30 people when I was invited in on Saturday morning to just short of 2,000 when I looked earlier.

The trip down memory lane has been nice, but I think some people don't realize that when you join a group on Facebook, unless it is a closed group, whatever you say is out there for anyone with half a clue with Google to see if they search your name. My mindset has always been if I wouldn't say it to a person face to face, to my Nana, to my boss or to a member of the clergy, it's not going to be said on Facebook. My locked down wall is probably considered PG-13, not much more different from the blog.

Anyway, some people just don't get the message. I've seen posts about the substances consumed and the underage drinking and well, that's not really all that bad in the whole scheme of things, unless you're going for a security clearance.

However, one guy considers himself quite the man about town. In one thread, he talked about getting one sexual favor granted (that had nothing to do with the topic discussed really) and another today in a thread asking 'what was your first job?,' in which he talked about a job for which one does not draw salary.

Anyway, I interjected "You do realize that anyone can see that, right?" and was promptly smacked down. His opinion was that the statute of limitations had long passed, and no one was going to come after him for what he'd done. Another person added that this guy was probably still a sophomore and the two of us basically got a public flogging from the person I was trying to help. We're uptight prudes, apparently and were disrespectful. He joked to the group that if and when he runs for public office, he wasn't looking for my vote, anyway.

That wasn't the point.

So, I messaged him off the group, explaining I wasn't meaning disrespect, just explaining that the things said on Facebook can come back to haunt you in the job market. I got yet another flippant remark "Well, I wouldn't want to work for anyone who bases their decision to hire me on what I say on my own time."

Dude, I wish it were that simple. One is finding more and more stories in the Internet about various people who are fired from jobs because of pictures or statuses on their LOCKED down Facebook walls that their employer felt did not fit in with the image they wish to portray. Apparently, my point was lost on him, I was told to bug off. C'est la vie.

Then he proceeds to go back to the group and tell them all the sexual insult things he supposedly said to me, without mentioning my name but making it clear that as a female, I should do these things. Hmm, that's not the conversation I had, but I'm not about to continue the discussion with someone who is all bravado and no brains.

He really doesn't get it.

In the job market today, employers have much more leverage in these situations. None of these 'fired because of what I said on Facebook' cases have made it to the Supreme Court, but give it time. One surely will. Until then, without a clear cut legal opinion, it's far better to err on the side of caution than be the guy who got fired 'because in the face of someone offering up some advice, I told her to do some sexual things to me.'

I blocked Mr. full of himself and won't be subjected to more of his crass behavior.

I'm done warning people about the pitfalls of social media when I'm not close friends with them. Can't say that I'll be surprised when something like that hits the news. I witnessed it today.


1 People talked back:

songbird's crazy world said...

I heard about a recent case where a woman claimed that the injuries she got in an accident were so disabling that she couldn't leave her house, couldn't work, etc. Her facebook page was full of comments and pictures of all the social/athletic things she was doing while claiming to be disabled. Guess who read her facebook page? And guess what happened to her lawsuit?