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Business Risks of Social Networks

With the number one movie in America this week about Facebook, this is a good time to remember that there are business risks in using social networks.  Here are some to watch out for:

Expressing your inner thoughts:  People really let it all hang out.  Job seekers get depressed sometimes.  Those that spill it out on Facebook risk having all their friends think of them as someone who is depressed.  People sympathize with depressed people, but they don’t hire them.  If you are looking for a job, you want your friends to think of you positively, so they will refer you to an employer.

That one photo: Employers look at the pages of their employees, and even prospective hires.  That one photo of you drunk or worse, or in some kind of “unbecoming” conduct can cause a negative judgment.  People have been fired because of what their employers saw on Facebook.  Really.  Look it up.

Software risks:  Accepting FB gifts, taking quizzes, playing on-site games, etc. has proven to be more than fun – these carry a big risk of viruses, getting inappropriate spam messages, etc.  One innocent action on Facebook, and suddenly your IT person is asking why you are getting so many dating messages when you are married.

Other people’s posts:  You can control your own comments, but others could be more outrageous in what they post on your page, or even what they post on someone else’s page, that then reappears on your page.  Your friends could become your baggage.

Mixing business and personal:   The real solution to avoiding showing the “complete” you to business people, is to connect with your business friends on LinkedIn, and play it 100% business, then reserve Facebook for your personal life.