Facebook Ruins Careers: Truth or Myth?

facebook-ruins-careersLet’s face it: in this digital age, most of us are addicted to Facebook and other forms of social media, whether we like it or not. In the past few years, as the social network amassed more and more active members, was publicly listed, and became more aggressive in its promotional network, talk about its impact has intensified. Cue the scare stories regarding the many ways in which Facebook ruins careers. Are they true, or are they a case of the natural impulse to reject new, unconventional technologies? Can Facebook irreparably damage your climb up the hierarchical ladder, or, on the contrary, can it be used to get ahead on the job? Read on, to find out.

Examples of how Facebook ruins careers

There are plenty of examples out there, on the World Wide Web, of how Facebook ruins careers actively and without too much input on the part of the user at fault. It’s not that we enjoy making fun of the strife of others, but here are some of the most jarring cases, as collected and reported by Forbes Magazine:

  • A police officer in Atlanta leaked sensitive job-related information onto his Facebook account this year. He disclosed he was working with the FBI, told his friends when he would be working undercover, and also expressed frustration with his job. Bear in mind that he got fired even though his account was listed as private!
  • An associate professor of sociology at East Stroudsburg University in Pennsylvania posted several status updates about how she would like to kill people at work. Her comments were meant to be humorous, but failed to elicit laughs, in light of the recent shooting tragedies across the United States. She was put on indefinite pay leave for two months, but was eventually allowed to return to work.
  • A British 16 year-old decided to post daily Facebook updates about how boring her new job as an office administrator was. Was – because she only lasted three weeks on the job before her boss found out about her posts.

Companies against Facebook

As early as 2010, most companies in the United States started instituting formal policies against Facebook. The initial list included Cisco, GM, Walmart, and Intel. It’s not that these companies had something against Facebook itself, but they wanted to make sure their employees are not exposing themselves to any privacy risks, jeopardizing their professional integrity, and minimizing their productivity. Nowadays, most companies have implemented such policies, which entail literally blocking their employees’ access to social networking websites. The list has expanded far beyond Facebook and can include Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, Vimeo, Vine, Yahoo, and many others. This, in turn, has given rise to the publication of countless articles on how to access Facebook at work. Our take on such an idea: proceed at your own risk. If there is one move that might go to show how Facebook ruins careers, violating company policies is probably it.

How Facebook can help you get ahead

Indeed, Facebook ruins careers for those unwise enough to disclose sensitive information on the social network. However, there are also plenty of ways in which Facebook can help you get a better job, a higher paying salary, as well as valuable professional contacts. There are several applications for Facebook available at the moment, which have been designed with the explicit purpose of job networking. BranchOut is one of the best-known. It imports your LinkedIn profile onto Facebook and allows users to share jobs, or even post job announcements if they are employers. CareerFriend is an app that helps you identify job openings, by looking at where your fiends are working. Lastly, Hire My Friend is an app which helps you recommend Facebook friends for available job opportunities.

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