Blurred lines: social media and work

Photo credit: Shea Allen

Photo credit: Shea Allen

Shea Allen, a young TV reporter in Huntsville, Alabama, was fired from the evening news for a blog post that she wrote about her job.

In the post, entitled “No Apologies: Confessions of a Red Headed Reporter,” Allen admitted that she took naps in the news car, that she refused to do stories about the elderly because she was scared of them, and that she had gone braless during live broadcasts without anybody noticing.

Allen was surprised about the firing, saying that she was “being snarky and funny.” But for her employers, the post was neither snarky nor funny; it was humiliating and damaging to their reputation as a trusted news source with competent, professional employees.

Professionals such as Allen might think it harmless to post how wacky, demanding, unusual, or frustrating their jobs are. And social media provides you with a vast audience to air your job-related jokes and rants.

But unfortunately, that audience could include the employers who you’re ranting or joking about. So by making fun of their jobs online, young professionals might unknowingly be putting their budding careers in jeopardy.

Even content you put on social media that doesn’t relate to your jobs — such as photos of you partying, getting drunk, hooking up, or engaging in other “unprofessional” acts — could lead to problems in your career:

Allen’s story may be a warning to the millions of Americans who blithely use social media, posting about everything from their sex lives to problems with their bosses. That public blurring of the personal and the professional can create big problems, experts say.

“I think a lot of younger professionals are so used to posting about their lives on social media that maybe they don’t have the same filter as those of us who didn’t have that option when we started our careers,” said Lindsey Pollak, a career and workplace expert.

So I’d encourage young professionals to be careful about what they place on their social media profiles because you never know who’s reading them.

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About David

I'm an aspiring writer and filmmaker in my twenties. I also run a blog where twenty-somethings share their stories and advice on beginning a career in this economy. Check it out at http://twentysomethingsblog.com

Posted on August 13, 2013, in News & views and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

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