Module 2
Career development & social media (-)

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This week and next, we will delve deeper into the world of social media focusing on Facebook, TwitterLinkedIn, YouTube, et al, in a professional context. Social networks are not new, but social media technologies and networked digital media have dramatically changed the way must of us communicate, both professionally and personally, in very recent years. Your readings are a smattering of texts that address 1) what social media is and where it came from, and 2) how social media technologies are being used in the workplace.

This week, we look at how social media can impede your career prospects, while next week focuses on how to utilize the social networking to your advantage. While some of the guidelines and advice may seem like common sense, it's amazing how unperceptive that we can be about our own activities online. At this time, there is some indication that employers may backing off of extensive background checks through social media of potential employees for various reasons, including that such practices may put them at risk for discrimination claims; however, research shows that a substantial number of employers do research their potential employees' social media history, at least some of the time. There are also other reasons to care about your professional identity, both online and off, regardless of employers' official policies on these matters. It's not just official background checks for party pictures that may affect your job prospects. Employers also look for "subtle clues" of whether prospective employees fit into their corporate culture, as you can see from this excerpt from a reading below (WSJ, "Beware"):

Companies also are using social media to pick up on more subtle clues about job applicants' work styles. Pete Maulik, chief strategy officer at Fahrenheit 212, a New York-based innovation consulting firm, says he was close to hiring an "excellent" candidate last year when he decided to check the man's LinkedIn profile as a final precaution. That's when he realized the candidate probably wasn't a team player, he says.

"He took credit for everything short of splitting the atom," Mr. Maulik says. "Everything was, 'I did this.' He seemed like a lone wolf. He did everything himself."

Another promising job applicant used his Twitter account to disparage just about every new innovation in the marketplace, he recalls. "It became clear he was much more comfortable as the critic than the collaborative creator," Mr. Maulik says.

The company didn't hire either candidate, he says.

With networked gaming, online dating sites, 24/7 always-on Web-enabled phones connected to social media, camera phones that automatically upload photos to Facebook and Instagram, log your location, and tag people in your photos - you get the idea - it's easy to lose control of your image and identity online. It's not about reality; it's all about perception.

Of course, social media can also be used for good as well, which we will address in more depth next week. Maybe you will be lucky enough to find the best job in the world via social media. In the "Best Job in the World" campaign and video (right), you will see how Tourism Queensland created a viral video that generated a successful marketing campaign for relatively little money (though it may have cost more than was initially recognized, according to this analysis). Dan Greenberg's controversial "The Secret Strategies Behind Many 'Viral' Videos"  is an interesting look at what makes a viral video successful (in terms of views at least). And according to Greenberg, it's certainly not about content.




  1. Instructions for Project 1
  2. Your choice of articles and resources that define social media by clicking here - pick one  credible source. Be prepared to share/summarize for reading quiz.
  3. Wall Street Journal's "Beware: Potential Employers Are Watching You" article (2013)
  4. USA Today's "Will employers ask for Facebook passwords in 2014?"  article (2014)
  5. "3 Necessary Conditions for Human Cooperation" blog by some guy
  6. Employment Screening Sources' "Social Network Searches Being Used Less for Background Checks and More for Recruiting and Sourcing" article (2014)
  7. California State's "Job Hunting? Learn How to Manage Your Online Identity" article
  8. Thomas Claburn's "Google Suggests Googling Yourself" article (2011)
  9. Two credible articles of your choice that offer good insight about current employment practices with regard to social media (2013 or later).  Be prepared to share/summarize for reading quiz.


Friday - Post in Facebook Group (2) 


Meet F2F

Wednesday - Take reading quiz, discuss social media and career development issues, review instructions for Project 1 - LinkedIn Profile

Click here to go to the course schedule
Click here to go to Blackboard