[iDC] Re: What you myspace will be held against you
dara at daragreenwald.com
Tue Jun 13 13:13:23 EDT 2006
certainly - not just the cops, nsa, etc
from this Sundays NYT
June 11, 2006
For Some, Online Persona Undermines a Résumé
By ALAN FINDER
When a small consulting company in Chicago was looking to hire a
summer intern this month, the company's president went online to
check on a promising candidate who had just graduated from the
University of Illinois.
At Facebook, a popular social networking site, the executive found
the candidate's Web page with this description of his interests:
"smokin' blunts" (cigars hollowed out and stuffed with marijuana),
shooting people and obsessive sex, all described in vivid slang.
It did not matter that the student was clearly posturing. He was done.
"A lot of it makes me think, what kind of judgment does this person
have?" said the company's president, Brad Karsh. "Why are you
allowing this to be viewed publicly, effectively, or semipublicly?"
Many companies that recruit on college campuses have been using
search engines like Google and Yahoo to conduct background checks on
seniors looking for their first job. But now, college career
counselors and other experts say, some recruiters are looking up
applicants on social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, Xanga
and Friendster, where college students often post risqué or teasing
photographs and provocative comments about drinking, recreational
drug use and sexual exploits in what some mistakenly believe is
When viewed by corporate recruiters or admissions officials at
graduate and professional schools, such pages can make students look
immature and unprofessional, at best.
"It's a growing phenomenon," said Michael Sciola, director of the
career resource center at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn.
"There are lots of employers that Google. Now they've taken the next
At New York University, recruiters from about 30 companies told
career counselors that they were looking at the sites, said Trudy G.
Steinfeld, executive director of the center for career development.
"The term they've used over and over is red flags," Ms. Steinfeld
said. "Is there something about their lifestyle that we might find
questionable or that we might find goes against the core values of
Facebook and MySpace are only two years old but have attracted
millions of avid young participants, who mingle online by sharing
biographical and other information, often intended to show how funny,
cool or outrageous they are.
On MySpace and similar sites, personal pages are generally available
to anyone who registers, with few restrictions on who can register.
Facebook, though, has separate requirements for different categories
of users; college students must have a college e-mail address to
register. Personal pages on Facebook are restricted to friends and
others on the user's campus, leading many students to assume that
they are relatively private.
But companies can gain access to the information in several ways.
Employees who are recent graduates often retain their college e-mail
addresses, which enables them to see pages. Sometimes, too, companies
ask college students working as interns to perform online background
checks, said Patricia Rose, the director of career services at the
University of Pennsylvania.
Concerns have already been raised about these and other Internet
sites, including their potential misuse by stalkers and students
exposing their own misbehavior, for example by posting photographs of
hazing by college sports teams. Add to the list of unintended
consequences the new hurdles for the job search.
Ana Homayoun runs Green Ivy Educational Consulting, a small firm that
tutors and teaches organizational skills to high school students in
the San Francisco area. Ms. Homayoun visited Duke University this
spring for an alumni weekend and while there planned to interview a
promising job applicant.
Curious about the candidate, Ms. Homayoun went to her page on
Facebook. She found explicit photographs and commentary about the
student's sexual escapades, drinking and pot smoking, including
testimonials from friends. Among the pictures were shots of the young
woman passed out after drinking.
"I was just shocked by the amount of stuff that she was willing to
publicly display," Ms. Homayoun said. "When I saw that, I thought,
'O.K., so much for that.' "
Ms. Rose said a recruiter had told her he rejected an applicant after
searching the name of the student, a chemical engineering major, on
Google. Among the things the recruiter found, she said, was this
remark: "I like to blow things up."
Occasionally students find evidence online that may explain why a job
search is foundering. Tien Nguyen, a senior at the University of
California, Los Angeles, signed up for interviews on campus with
corporate recruiters, beginning last fall, but he was seldom invited.
A friend suggested in February that Mr. Nguyen research himself on
Google. He found a link to a satirical essay, titled "Lying Your Way
to the Top," that he had published last summer on a Web site for
college students. He asked that the essay be removed. Soon, he began
to be invited to job interviews, and he has now received several offers.
"I never really considered that employers would do something like
that," he said. "I thought they would just look at your résumé and
Jennifer Floren is chief executive of Experience Inc., which provides
online information about jobs and employers to students at 3,800
universities. "This is really the first time that we've seen that
stage of life captured in a kind of time capsule and in a public
way," Ms. Floren said. "It has its place, but it's moving from a
fraternity or sorority living room. It's now in a public arena."
Some companies, including Enterprise Rent-a-Car, Ernst & Young and
Osram Sylvania, said they did not use the Internet to check on
college job applicants.
"I'd rather not see that part of them," said Maureen Crawford Hentz,
manager of talent acquisition at Osram Sylvania. "I don't think it's
related to their bona fide occupational qualifications."
More than a half-dozen major corporations, including Morgan Stanley,
Dell, Pfizer, L'Oréal and Goldman Sachs, turned down or did not
respond to requests for interviews.
But other companies, particularly those involved in the digital world
like Microsoft and Métier, a small software company in Washington,
D.C., said researching students through social networking sites was
now fairly typical. "It's becoming very much a common tool," said
Warren Ashton, group marketing manager at Microsoft. "For the first
time ever, you suddenly have very public information about almost any
At Microsoft, Mr. Ashton said, recruiters are given broad latitude
over how to work, and there is no formal policy about using the
Internet to research applicants. "There are certain recruiters and
certain companies that are probably more in tune with the new
technologies than others are," he said.
Microsoft and Osram Sylvania have also begun to use networking sites
in a different way, participating openly in online communities to get
out their company's messages and to identify talented job candidates.
Students may not know when they have been passed up for an interview
or a job offer because of something a recruiter saw on the Internet.
But more than a dozen college career counselors said recruiters had
been telling them since last fall about incidents in which students'
online writing or photographs had raised serious questions about
their judgment, eliminating them as job candidates.
Some college career executives are skeptical that many employers
routinely check applicants online. "My observation is that it's more
fiction than fact," said Tom Devlin, director of the career center at
the University of California, Berkeley.
At a conference in late May, Mr. Devlin said, he asked 40 employers
if they researched students online and every one said no.
Many career counselors have been urging students to review their
pages on Facebook and other sites with fresh eyes, removing
photographs or text that may be inappropriate to show to their
grandmother or potential employers. Counselors are also encouraging
students to apply settings on Facebook that can significantly limit
access to their pages.
Melanie Deitch, director of marketing at Facebook, said students
should take advantage of the site's privacy settings and be smart
about what they post. But students may not be following the advice.
"I think students have the view that Facebook is their space and that
the adult world doesn't know about it," said Mark W. Smith, assistant
vice chancellor and director of the career center at Washington
University in St. Louis. "But the adult world is starting to come in."
On Jun 9, 2006, at 8:16 PM, Ryan Griffis wrote:
> on a more microl level... in Chicago recently i witnessed a teen
> party being broken up by a bunch of patrol cops. A person i was
> with asked the cops what was going on, they said they found out
> about the party from myspace.
> iDC -- mailing list of the Institute for Distributed Creativity
> iDC at bbs.thing.net
> List Archive:
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