Career suicide with social media

Career Suicide via Twitter

Is it wrong to tweet something personal on your workplace Twitter account? Social media have blurred the line between your work life and your private life. How are corporations handling the changes?

The reckless and irresponsible use of social media has the potential to result in irreparable damage to lives, careers and yes – law school admissions.  This issue has recently been canvassed on the blog of a pre-law advisor. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.

Enjoy the following video. Also, check  out the comments to  this post.

3 thoughts on “Career suicide with social media

  1. admin Post author

    ‘I am truly ashamed,’ says teen involved in Vancouver riot

    June 19, 2011

    Amy Dempsey

    At least one young rioter has learned the hard way that there is no such thing as a faceless crowd anymore.

    Already outed online by furious citizens determined to name and shame participants in last week’s Stanley Cup riots, Nathan Kotylak made an emotional public apology over the weekend for his role in the chaos.

    Kotylak, a once-rising star on Canada’s junior water polo team, was caught on camera as he appeared to hold a lighter to a rag stuffed into the gas tank of a Vancouver police car in the violent aftermath of the Canucks’ Game 7 loss to the Boston Bruins.

    “For reasons I can’t really explain, I went from being a spectator to becoming part of the mob mentality that swept through many members of the crowd,” the 17-year-old said.

    “I want to say as clearly as I can that there is no excuse for my behaviour … I am truly ashamed of what I did.”

    Kotylak would typically remain unidentified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act because he is not yet 18 years old. But he said he wanted to name himself so he could own up to what he did.

    His lawyer said he had obtained a court order allowing the young man to make his public apology this weekend.

    The consequences have been swift and severe for the athlete from Maple Ridge, B.C., who graduates from high school this year.

    He is currently under investigation and could face charges in the matter.

    However, in spite of the court order, Vancouver police won’t discuss Kotylak’s case because he is still a minor.

    Kotylak’s father, who is a doctor, had to suspend his practice when the family made a decision to leave their home temporarily on Thursday after their address appeared online and they received threats, his lawyer said.

    And the teen, who dreamed of one day making it to the Olympics, is understood to have been suspended from the national junior men’s water polo team.

    Kotylak cried as he delivered his statement on a local television newscast late Saturday, apologizing to his friends, teammates, the community he grew up in, the Canucks, the Bruins, the Vancouver Police and the city of Vancouver. And finally, to his parents.

    “I want to apologize to Mom and Dad,” he said, choking back sobs. “What I did does not reflect the love, values, lessons and great opportunities that you have provided for me.”

    The teen also said that he missed his high school convocation on Saturday because he “did not want to detract from this special day that my classmates and I have worked towards all our lives.”

    Kotylak said he is not looking for any sympathy.

    “I just want to make sure that people know there have already been serious consequences and I anticipate there will be more,” he said on television. “I felt my name had been tarnished and been thrown around in such a manner that this was necessary.”

    Water Polo Canada said it suspended a player facing allegations stemming from the post-game riot and would be conducting an investigation.

    The organization, which manages national and Olympic teams, did not name the suspended player, but said the junior member had promised full cooperation with the disciplinary process.

    “We’re taking immediate action due to the very serious nature of these allegations,” executive director Ahmed El-Awadi said in a statement on Friday.

    “His future status will be determined after an investigation has been completed and an official hearing has been conducted,” El-Awadi said, adding any criminal proceedings would take precedence.

    Kotylak said his actions were “dumb” and he is ready to take responsibility for what occurred.

    “My life took a very bad turn on Wednesday night based on choices I made. Now I must face the consequences.”

    With files from The Canadian Press

  2. admin Post author

    Social media leaves trail for bosses, but there are ways to cover your tracks–social-media-leaves-trail-for-bosses-but-there-are-ways-to-cover-your-tracks

    July 06, 2011

    Vanessa Lu

    Images from the Stanley Cup riots in Vancouver proved people could get quickly fired, but questionable posts and tweets can stop people getting hired in the first place.

    And because employers are increasingly doing social media checks, people are turning to online strategies to clean up their profiles.

    Brian Lambie, a principal with Redbrick Communications in Mississauga, spent six months trying to hire staff at his small public relations firm and was stunned by the lack of judgment he found applicants displayed.

    He first weeded out any candidates who submitted a resume with typos – surprisingly, 90 per cent had mistakes. Then he did searches on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

    He was surprised by how many people were “petty, foolish and nasty.”

    “I’m not opposed to having fun, but they should have a good sense of what to advertise,” he said. “What you see on social media offers a window into what you are bringing into your office’s lunchroom. If a person is ‘out of line’ while online, you run the risk of adding that to the culture of your workplace.

    A 2010 study by Microsoft and Cross-Tab Market Research of employment recruiters in the United States found 72 per cent have rejected candidates based on their online reputations on social networking sites.

    Top reasons employers cited for not hiring a candidate, according to a CareerBuilder survey, include provocative or improper photos, posts about drinking or drug use, badmouthing previous employers, co-workers or clients, bad grammar or communications skills, discriminatory comments and lying about qualifications.

    Professional companies have sprouted up to clean up one’s background, including, formerly known as ReputationDefender.

    Michael Fertik, who founded the California company in 2006, said for a fee, his company will help push controversial links down during a Google search or tell you how much personal information you have exposed online.

    It alerts users when information appears online about them and offers a Facebook app called that encrypts content, allowing users to determine when a post or photo expires.

    Fertik said average users are in their 20s, who want to get rid of something they posted that they’re not proud of. Parents occasionally sign up.

    “This is a topic that is not going away,” Fertik said. “We’ve heard of anecdotally stories about employers asking candidates to open up their social networking pages during an interview.”

    Sidneyeve Matrix, a media studies professor at Queen’s University, suggests people take control to ensure when a potential employer searches, accurate, relevant information is there.

    That can mean raising the privacy settings on Facebook pages or creating your own website to highlight your resume and skills. Or tweet often to showcase you are a thought leader in your field.

    Matrix said people can showcase their personality and interests online.

    “You showing me your book list or you can ran in a marathon are great things,” said Matrix, adding she would be concerned if a candidate came up as a blank slate with no details.

    Ontario’s privacy commissioner Ann Cavoukian has a simple message – think before you click.

    “The reality is that the majority of employers are looking online when they hire people, when they promote people,” she said. “This is user-generated data. You’re putting it out yourself.

    “You have to be so cautious with the information you put out,” Cavoukian said. “People still don’t get it.”

    Most experts say it would be difficult for candidates to prove they lost out on a job because of a post.

    “There’s nothing illegal with a company going online and checking into candidates,” said Daniel Lublin, a workplace lawyer at Whitten & Lublin LLP. “What they can’t do is they can’t make hiring decisions based on anything that would be considered discriminatory.”

    That is clearly stated in the Ontario Human Rights Code, or under the Federal Human Rights Act for federally regulated companies, such as sex, age, race or religion.

    However, Lublin said it is very unusual to get “smoking gun” evidence. “It’s really difficult to prove your case in the absence of hard evidence,” he said. “People need to understand that circumstantial evidence or oral evidence isn’t good evidence.”

    How to spruce up your online self

    Get your Google ID, so you can control the first clicks on your name, including a profile page or links to your website. If your name is common, add your middle name.

    Buy your vanity domain name, which costs about $10 to $15 a year in Canada. Put your resume on there or your LinkedIn profile.

    Make sure your privacy settings are high on Facebook, including getting notifications when you are tagged by another user, so you can make a decision if you want a photo from an office Christmas party posted.

    Note that Twitter’s tweets are licensed to Google, so they come up on Google search. Focus on your niche, tweet away and hiring manager will see you are plugged into the industry.

    Source: Sidneyeve Matrix, Queen’s University

  3. admin Post author

    Although this next article is not about social media, it is an example of the internet making it possible for one’s private life to become public.

    Full Comment
    National Post editorial board: A question of judgement

    National Post editorial board Jul 7, 2011 – 6:33 PM ET

    Justices like Lori Douglas need to be held to a higher standard.

    No one likes to see a good man — or woman — fall from grace. But in the case of Manitoba Associate Chief Justice Lori Douglas, it is difficult to be sympathetic.

    In 2010, Judge Douglas and her husband, lawyer Jack King, were sued by Alex Chapman, one of Mr. King’s former clients. In 2003, while representing Mr. Chapman in a divorce case, Mr. King solicited him to have three-way sex with the couple. Mr. King showed Mr. Chapman approximately thirty naked pictures of Judge Douglas, some in bondage gear, which had been posted to a porn website without her knowledge. Mr. Chapman did not engage in any sexual activity; he felt revolted at the proposition and experienced mental distress. Mr. Chapman changed lawyers, and then signed a contract with Mr. King and his firm, promising his silence about the matter, in exchange for $25,000. Seven years later, he broke the deal, claiming that he could no longer live with the pain caused by the incident and the fear that it might adversely affect him in another civil proceeding related to his divorce.

    Judge Douglas subsequently stepped aside, pending a decision by the Canadian Judicial Council (CJC), as to whether confidence in her judgeship had been compromised. Mr. King was also the subject of a complaint to the Manitoba Law Society. This week, the CJC ruled that Judge Douglas’s case warranted a public inquiry. She is said to be “devastated” by the decision.

    The critics, even on the front page of this newspaper, have called this ruling “priggish” and claimed that Judge Douglas is being subjected to a sexual double standard, which judges women’s behaviour more harshly than men’s. But this case is not about different standards for men and women. Rather, it turns on the higher standard to which judges are held, due to their position in society.

    Judges are called upon to apply the laws of the land, ensuring equal treatment and justice for all who come before them. In family court matters, such as those adjudicated by Judge Douglas, they decide thorny questions of child custody, in which the moral conduct of parents can become an issue. Litigants expect that the person who will decide their fate is unbiased, displays sound judgment and is of unblemished character. When any of these elements come into question, confidence in the judiciary, and the rule of law itself, is undermined.

    Judge Douglas no doubt was aware of these realities before she became a judge — and if she wasn’t, then that raises a serious red flag about her own judgment. She thought it perfectly acceptable to sit in judgment of others when she had a giant and potentially deadly skeleton in her closet, one which could expose her to blackmail, or worse. Did it never occur to her that despite Mr. Chapman’s pledge of silence, the incident might be made public either intentionally or accidentally?

    The CJC reports that Judge Douglas apparently did disclose details of her situation to the panel charged with reviewing her application for the bench. It would be useful for the public inquiry to also review that panel’s decision and the standards they applied in determining her fitness to serve as a judge.

    It would be simple to say that people’s public and private lives should be kept separate, but it would also be naïve, especially when one captures one’s private practices on film. Just like the drunken college grad, whose friends post a lewd picture of him on Facebook and then loses a job opportunity when his potential employer sees it, Judge Douglas got caught in a mess of her own making. Compromising images, even when within one’s control, or the control of a loved one or friend, always have the possibility of leaking. And when they do, there is no one to blame but oneself, for allowing them to be taken in the first place. Her case is unfortunate, but a lesson to anyone aspiring to hold the public trust.

    National Post

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