Dangers of Web 2.0

An interesting pair of articles about the privacy implications of Web 2.0 applications came through on Slashdot and Digg respectively last week. The first linked the Louisiana State University in Shreveport’s Career Services reprint of an article about the impact of social network sites on getting hired. It mentions that even people who think they are being careful by restricting access to their on-line content might find it accessed by a potential employer, citing a specific case in which a state agency obtained access to restricted Facebook pages due to provision of the Patriot Act. It also reiterates the necessary point that these sites need to be treated as public, not private spaces. Interestingly, the article also suggests that it is ethically questionable for an employer to look at these sites for background on a potential employee. I think that it is a mistake for an employer to take standard goofiness too sereiously, but I think that it is totally natural for them to Google applicant names or look in other public sites. That is, at least, content that an applicant has power over, as compared to employers asking colleagues who previously knew the applicant for feedback, which definitely happens.
The second article talks about steps you can take to clean up your on-line presence, particularly prior to a job search. Soberingly, its first recommendation is to Google yourself, but suggests that if there is something unflattering that appears about you, there is little you can do about it.

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