Facebook Warning : People are reading

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Facebook is a rapidly growing internet phenomenon, with thousands signing themselves up daily. It started at Harvard University, spread to other academic institutions across the US and then ultimately to Europe and beyond.

But what’s the point?

Unlike other social networking sites, the point of facebook appears to be the ability to form social groups with other people, based on your education, your home town, your workplace or your social interests. Once there, you can leave snippets, mini-feeds : Jon is going to the shops, Jon is washing his hair. Trust me thousands of people leave these pointless notelets all over the internet on a daily basis.

But be warned, facebookers : Facebook is being read by people that you might not ordinarily expect. I shall not name names, but I know of university lecturers who are reading their students’ facebook entries. Telling stuff – turns out Joanne Bloggs wasn’t ill yesterday, transpires she was suffering from a bear-slaying hangover. Why would you want people to know about this?

I was copied in on an email from a lecturer only today which tells the story rather clearly. To quote :

Just a word of warning to you all. Social networking (My Space, Facebook etc.) is a great tool for getting in touch with people, finding out about people, wasting time when you should be working etc.

However, I have some HR contacts who have also realised its value. So, before joining a group supporting the torching of university property, or supporting Jeremy Clarkson as Prime Minister, just think of what that employer who was going to pay you £30k on graduation will think when he checks you out on facebook. The problem when you get turned down for a job is that usually you’ll never know why!

Yes, think twice – do you really want your lecturer, your tutor, your potential employer or partner really reading the minutae of your life? People are reading and they’re learning about you through your webfootprint, and it’s not all positive.

Think before you write. On the other hand, if you’re thinking of recruiting, check facebook.com.