Social media: Damned if you do and damned if you don’t.
Lack a Facebook page or any kind of online persona? You could be the next mass murderer.
Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? But some employers and psychologists question people without a virtual footprint.
Der Taggspiegel — a German magazine — surmised that accused Aurora, Colo., shooter James Holmes and Norwegian Anders Behring Breivik — also accused of a mass murder — share similarities because they do not have Facebook accounts.
Now, let’s not jump to conclusions about lacking a Facebook page. But it is an interesting thought that folks lacking Facebook profiles are hiding something about themselves.
Just a few years ago, the common thought was to not post anything you wouldn’t want your mother, grandmother or current or potential boss to see — so no photos of you tailgating, playing beer pong or holding a can of beer as you stand in your boxers in the middle of a crowded party scene.
Today, those photos might actually show your personality and that you might not necessarily be a questionable hire.
Lacking a Facebook page doesn’t just hurt your job prospects, but it also could limit your love life, says Slate.com’s Farhad Manjoo and Emily Yoffe.
“If you are going out with someone and they don’t have a Facebook profile, you should be suspicious,” Manjoo said in a Slate.com podcast.
We’ve all met someone and searched Google for any kind of online traces — Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, a blog or even just news articles.
“If you’re of a certain age and you meet someone who you are about to go to bed with, and that person doesn’t have a Facebook page, you may be getting a false name,” Yoffe said. “It could be some kind of red flag.”
Just recently, I made a new friendship and the first thing I did was Google the heck out of this new pal’s name. As it turned out, his Facebook page was wide open and I was able to learn so much about him.
People jokingly say you’re “Facebook stalking” someone if you search their photos, past link shares and friend lists, but let’s face facts — people put items online to be viewed. If they didn’t want you to see it, they wouldn’t post it.
“Obviously, someone you sleep with is going to look you up online,” Manjoo said.
While I am a social media addict and could never see myself giving up any form of social media (I struggle being away from my iPhone for very long), I don’t necessarily subscribe to the belief that someone who lacks a Facebook account has something to hide or is the next suspected mass murderer.
A friend of mine dumped his Facebook account a few years back, much to my disapproval. I still haven’t gotten over the fact that he’s one of the few people around my age with whom I can’t click through photo albums of or comment on links.
His decision for ditching Facebook had nothing to do with committing a crime.
He said he “felt it was giving people too much of an in depth look at my personal life.”
His other reason? His job. In his line of work, the least amount of tracking people can do of him, the better.
Other friends of mine have changed their user names on Facebook to merely mimic their actual name which prevents others from finding them.
Social media isn’t meant to be an open book. We all deserve a little privacy, and that extends to the Internet.
In my job as a reporter, I try to balance a private/public life online. It can be tricky as sources and colleagues attempt adding me as a friend on Facebook. As open as I am, I still want to have my privacy. And I deserve that.
How we choose to use social media in our private lives shouldn’t dictate our relationship status or employment chances. I wouldn’t share photo albums or keepsake items with just anybody, so why should I treat my online world any different?
But more importantly, if we’re basing everything we know or want to know about someone off of their online life, what does that say about our narrow minds? Each of us is more than a Facebook profile.
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