11 Nov, 2008 in MySpace, Social Media by

Your Online Reputation Matters, Watch Your Social Network Friends

There is a lot of frenzy going on right now with people clamoring to increase their exposure online through the use of social sites. It has become an important part of Search engine optimization. Not only are people of all ages signing up for social sites such as MySpace, Linked-In and Facebook, many existing companies are putting up pages at these sites. Bands promote their work and some people have even started businesses on their pages.

Most adults realize there can be consequences to their actions, but there are young people who do not. They tend to look at the social sites as a private area where they can rant about friends, teachers, or bosses. They can post suggestive pictures of themselves or brag about drug and alcohol use. This does have consequences. We are hearing more and more about people who are denied college entrance, passed over for jobs, expelled from schools, kicked off of athletic teams and even arrested as a result of something they put on their MySpace or FaceBook page.

There was a joke going around that said possible credit card or mortgage lenders will check a MySpace page before they check credit ratings. It was a joke, with more truth than the public realizes. Potential employers are looking at the social sites before hiring individuals. Colleges are looking at the social sites to see what kind of character a person has. Law enforcement agencies are watching for serious law breakers. MySpace is not a private world or a private space.

I went to my own MySpace page, which is pretty innocent on its own. I have several bands on there because I like them and I support their efforts, and I have several friends. I am fairly selective and a person doesn’t get to be my friend unless I actually know them. I do not have a long friend list. Recently I took a moment to check out the friends of my friends. I did get some shocking surprises. It was time to take a moment to decide what a potential employer may think of my choice of “friends.” People can still be judged by the company they keep.

Of course, a lot of the bands have thousands of friends, so those aren’t really the concern at the moment. My worry is some of the friends of my friends. I have to admit that some of what I found left a bad taste in my mouth. Friends of friends were strippers, beer stands, bongs, some of whom used racism, discussions of hard-core drug use, and some very objectionable language.

Time will come, and it won’t be very long, when a social site will be as important as your reputation outside of the Internet.

Perhaps the time has come to take a look at your social sites and decide if some of the people who are your friends should remain on your page, particularly if you are looking for employment or trying to get into a school. You never know who will check out your page and for what purpose.

– Ciniva Web Agency

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