Can Facebook Friends Harm Your Career?

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Facebook has offered society many benefits and the company has spent a lot of effort building ways to keep people logged and/or connected to the network. As of 2015, more than a billion people are utilizing this network for a variety of reasons.

The company reports in Sept. 2015, 1.55 billion monthly are active users as of September 30, 2015. And 1.01 billion of these members log in daily. That’s a lot of interaction. For many people, Facebook is a fun way to seek out friendship, business opportunities and find long-lost classmates, family members and colleagues.

Can Facebook Friends Harm Your Career? 

Does this mean that Facebook itself is the root cause of career problems? Not really.

While there are many advantages to being a Facebook member, one unfortunate lesson many people have learned is that there are some downsides too. One of these drawbacks is the way some people use Facebook, it can actually hurt one’s career. Nowadays, it is pretty common to end up having difficulty on the job due to Facebook interaction. There have been many media reports outlining instances of people getting fired due to social network behavior, either their own or someone else’s actions. 

What Other People are Posting

What is unfortunate is the fact people do not always have control over the content that reaches the Web which identifies them by name in the content. It is not uncommon for information about a person to be streamed by other people without a person’s knowledge or permission, making Facebook friends a risk to one’s career. 

While it is clear some people may bring the drama down on themselves through their own comments and photos posted on the walls of other people, in groups or on their own profile pages, however, this is not true all the time. Even the most careful and meticulous person tending to their online reputation can end up having career troubles because of things other people post. Unfortunately, people often tend to forget the Web is a very public place, even in closed networks where a person has to be logged in. 

Social Interaction is No Longer Anonymous

The Facebook model is structured on the basis of people using their real names, so this means that any inappropriate, unsuitable or just plain old embarrassing information that gets passed on Facebook will be directly connected to a real person’s name, not an anonymous chat name as it was in years past, ala AOL bulletin boards and other early websites.

How Well Do People Know Their Connections?

Another thing many people do not consider is that when they connect with those individuals they know, even if it was from childhood or several years back, is the fact that over the years people change. The person they are adding as a friend may not be the same person they knew way back in the day. As a result, old embarrassing photos, stories, questions and anecdotes may end up surfacing on the Web which were hoped to be long forgotten. If a boss or other colleague gets wind of these stories or photos, it could be pretty humiliating, or worse, negatively impact a job or put a damper on future career options. 

Typically people do not harm their friends’ careers on Facebook intentionally, what they post they think they are doing in fun. But sometimes negative consequences do happen. It is probably worth the effort to talk to friends and family about what is considered to be inappropriate and fitting to you. Let them know how the unsuitable material can hurt your professional reputation. Most people are pretty understanding and, if they get upset, then perhaps they aren’t really a friend afterall. 

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