Note: Years ago I worked in law enforcement in the state of Oregon. This letter is from a former colleague of mine who has seen first hand the Impact of the Internet on people’s success. While this post is not about marketing, it is important to all of us. -Wendy
By Bill Carroll, Retired Special Agent in Charge, Oregon Department of Justice Criminal Division, started the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force in Oregon and former ICAC ask Force Commander. For more information go to: Carroll Consulting LLC.
As a retired police officer after 35 years, I am still conducting backgrounds. The evolution of resources has produced a remarkable product for this purpose. What is it? The INTERNET! As a consumer, where do you go to find out more about a service, product or business, where do you go? The Internet. When you want to find the best price, where do you go? The Internet.
I spent many years working murder cases, backgrounds, thefts, robberies, gambling and drugs. Countless hours were spent trying to locate prior witnesses and victims of the defendant’s past crimes. Sifting through documents, report and newspapers took hours.
Now the whole world is at our fingertips. Whether it is a marketing tool, you posting your information or your friends posting your information, everything appears in view of the world.
One area that should be of particular concern is the impact that the internet may have on your future and your career. The internet is being used more and more to screen potential employees and to monitor employee’s activities outside the work place.
Almost all employers have been doing some sort of formal or informal background checking on potential employees. This means that prior to an applicant being called for an interview, chances are that someone has performed a “Google” search on the applicant on behalf of the employer, looking for Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and LinkedIn pages, as well as blogs and other accounts. No law officially prohibits employers from searching social networking sites while conducting their own background checks of job applicants.
I’m not trying to pick on any social media; it is clearly a popular form of communication. I see people who post ‘like’ links or “thumbs up” or “re-tweets” that are clearly racist, sexist, advocate drug use, etc… Then there are the photos and videos that people post — or find themselves in — on Facebook and YouTube and other sharing sites like Flickr, Picasa, Yfrog and Photobucket. A lot of times it is photos and videos that seem to get most people in trouble. Think about it. Have you been to a party or tailgater where people are taking photos and you have had a little too much to drink????
Sexually explicit photos and videos can be posted without your knowledge. A case is point is a person that went to a bachelorette party. A male stripper was the entertainment. Photos of the person, in close proximity to the stripper, were later posted on the internet. Those photos came to the attention of management and a legal nightmare ensued for this individual to keep their job.
Some people think that they have protected themselves by making things private, but that is not the case. At any time, things you have posted, potentially in private, can be re-posted and open to the entire world.
Employers, scholarship committees, youth groups and schools have long used criminal background checks, motor vehicles and local records to determine suitability for funds or employment. Now, some companies are requiring job candidates to also pass a social media background check. How will you do?