Excuse me. Come again? Are you kidding? What is the first thing you do when you are in need of more information on ANY topic? About a celebrity? About a dream vacation? The weather? You Google it. That's right. I know you do-you Google it. What makes you think you are un-googleble? Simply put, Facebook can affect your online brand, your digital reputation, your corporate identity, and ultimately your employability.
The most important thing you must realize is EMPLOYERS WILL ABSOLUTELY GOOGLE YOU. If you have a name, you are Googleble. If you have any social networking account, even if just one-you are definitely Googleble, which means your reputation is searchable. So, now that we established this, what do you do with that information?
A few takeaways...
Facebook counts. Perhaps Facebook itself won't lead you to a job opportunity (perhaps). So, how does all this pertain to your (FB) Facebook account and your job search/career? For starters, if you are a professional who is already using Twitter, LinkedIn, and other online sites to job search, don't discard Facebook as a useless tool. Facebook results in Google searches. Therefore, it plays a role in building/influencing your online image. Consequently, you must decide if you are going to protect it (set it to private) or place some serious thought on what you share via FB.
Executives and hiring managers are on Facebook too. Imagine this: you decided to network via LinkedIn and Twitter (because you are just that cool). You connect with a few folks. Now these contacts found you on Facebook and request you as a 'friend.' You were not counting on this. (C'mon, you had no idea there were apps to find your Twitter friends on Facebook or the HR contact you connected with on LinkedIn would send you a friend request via FB.) Now what are you going to do about the not-so-polished brand you have been unintentionally building via FB?
What goes online, stays online forever. If you are not going to use FB to project a professional brand, yes you can set it to private. However, realize if you are networking with others-nothing is 100% protected online. If someone has access to it, it can be copied and it can be shared. Hence, it can go viral!
Where is all the fun going? I hear you now, Can't anyone have fun online anymore? Sure, but, remember that old saying, Don't mix business with pleasure. Well, at times, that is still good advice. And, of course, it depends on what you call fun.
For social networking to be successful you must be friendly, and yes, some associates may become your friends. What you have to be cognizant about is which friends, what topics, and what's off limits. If you are ranging on-brand from professional to personal life, you have nothing to worry about. Otherwise, you may need two separate Facebook accounts.