During a recent function at my old school I got talking with one of my former teachers about Facebook and the notion of ‘over-sharing’. To put things into context, I am 26 years old and left this college in 2004 when I was 18. Facebook was not around in my time and getting away with things was a lot easier. That said, the teachers also had a pretty good idea of what we were up to, most of the time.
We came to the conclusion that one of the problems with posting the minutiae of your lives on Facebook is that once it’s there, it’s very hard to erase it. It can also be copied and spread in an instant, taking the control away from you. This can be fine if you’re only sharing with friends, but when you don’t know who they are friends with, Facebook – and the internet – can become a very small place.
The hypothetical problem scenario that we both immediately thought of was this:
Imagine you are an employer trying to fill a single position and you have two identical candidates, so you look online and one has a Facebook profile full of risque photos. Chances are you will employ the candidate with the cleaner profile.
On the flip side, my old teacher and I also agreed that things posted on Facebook these days are probably no worse than anything that the interviewers themselves will have got up to in their youth. The difference is, when the interviewers were having their fun in the 70s, 80s or even 90s, there was no such thing as Facebook, and images never travelled as fast or as far back then.
The reality is, people won’t stop trying to have fun. However, the way we document this fun, or perhaps how we going about sharing the evidence, is something that is much more easily controlled. If you simply must share the pictures from a lads’ holiday in the sun or the late night photos and gossip from the graduation ball, then sharing privately is the best bet. It’s better to share with your own world, not the whole world.