Tuesday, January 6, 2009

social networking

Today, many of us have become devotees of Facebook and Myspace.  I joined Facebook last year and have re-connected with many old friends.  If you were to see my Facebook page, you would see a photo of me - fairly standard pic - and some family photos.  A couple of friends have 'tagged" me in photos from the past.  There's nothing shocking or "wild" out there in my Facebook land.  And, that is what I wanted to address.

Social networking can be a powerful tool for reconnecting socially and possibly even leading to networking and business opportunities.  But, you also have to be aware of the dangers when it comes to your career. Our recruiters routinely do Google and other searches on lateral and new recruits.  They don't want to read everything; they do want to look for things that may show a lack of judgment or embarrass the firm.  So, if you have a personal webpage listed on your Facebook account, and your personal webpage has pics of you drunk/half naked, etc., these are not going to help your career.  I am a fan of social networking, but you need to use it cautiously.   I just saw someone comment on another person's wall reminiscing about how they used to do mesc and ecstasy at a local establishment.  Why would you post that publicly?

On Facebook, you can use the privacy controls to make your profile private and available just for your Friends.  This is a good idea.  If we can't access your information, that generally shows good judgment.  On a related topic, beware what you post in your own name (versus anonymous) as comments on blogs, message boards, etc.  These too will also come up in searches.

Feel free to connect with your friends through social networking.  In fact, it is what I recommend in terms of connecting and reconnecting and expanding your base.  Just remember who has access to your posts and remember that what you post -- even to your friends -- could easily be forwarded around.

When I was a junior associate, someone once taught me as to an email or a memo:  if what you wrote ended up on the front  page of the New York Times..would you or your client be terribly embarrassed?  If so, don't write it.  

Be social, but be safe.

And, on my earlier subject, what have you done this week to further your career?  


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Hiring Partner said...

HP removed a comment. HP generally supports an open dialogue here. However, I've asked you folks to keep it clean Please no f-bombs, or other similar language. I appreciate (well, usually) the input, but ask you to do what I preach -- use good judgment -- and post in language that is appropriate for an office setting. We might as well stay in good practice in the way we communicate. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I have no idea what the prior post said, but - for better or worse - in my workplace f-bombs are commonplace. I post this wondering whether this is the norm; that is, whether most firms are R-rated or PG-13 when it comes to workday interaction.

1L said...

From what I read about big law firms practice, it seems that f-bombs and their relatives are common occurrences.

Anonymous said...

I like LinkedIn b/c there is no comment feature or "wall" for embarssing information to show up on. I have a nice professional picture on there and there is no area for albums of party pics.

I noticed that many people from the firm I will be starting w/ in September are on LinkedIn. I was thinking of adding them but decided I would wait till I got to know them in person first.

Would you want a new hire contacting you before he/she started or would you want them to wait?

Suzanne Dupree Howe (Texas Office) said...

Enjoying your blog. I wrote an article last year related to your post entitled What Google, MySpace, and Facebook Say About You to a Potential Employer: How to Control Your Online Footprint When Conducting a Job Search. I usually ask my candidates to make sure they don't have anything terribly wild that an employer can find online. You can't be too careful in this economy.

Suzanne Howe
Managing Director
BCG Attorney Search- Texas