In this class we spoke about our online personal identities as well as our professional ones. We spoke about the importance of how anything that you post online, no matter where it may be, is essentially there forever and may resurface at a later stage and potentially hinder your opportunities of career progression or in more serious cases cause you to lose your job and label you in such a way that other companies may steer clear of hiring you. This is all very much connected to our #MeToo group project, whereas trial-by-media plays a vital role in how the culprits or victims, depending on the story or how you look at it, are judged and how the punishment comes almost instantly without any proper evidence or any extensive research done.
One of the more serious cases of this that we touched on was when Justine Sacco, a communications director, was fired from the New York based internet empire InterActive Corp after she sent a tweet that linked Aids with race, which caused outrage and her tweet quickly went viral. An article from The Guardian states; “Shortly before she boarded the flight on Friday she tweeted: Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!” ¹. The article goes on to tell us that by the time she landed her tweet had been picked up by several social media websites, retweeted over 2,000 times and the hashtag #HasJustineLandedYet was trending around the world. After disembarking she quickly deleted the tweet and her account but by then it was already too late. On the Saturday InterActive Corp dismissed her for her “Hateful statements” ².
In another case, one that might worry people slightly more than the previous one, a newly appointed youth crime commissioner stands down from her new role as tweets that she posted online years before resurface. The article says: “Critics claimed the comments were racist, homophobic and condoned violence and drug-taking” ³. There are no examples of the tweets in the article but if they are anything like the critics claim them to be then unfortunately she is no role model for the younger generation to look up to. With this case as an example it causes us to ask the questions; Do we condemn everybody to be guilty of their younger selves actions or statements? Do we not consider the fact that people may grow and change over a number of years and could possibly have completely different views now simply by getting wiser with age or have even gone through situations in their life to cause them to become a drastically different person to their young self?
With these topics all up in the air for discussion John asked us how we might convert our personal presence online into an identity for professional networking. For starters, if we felt it was necessary we could go back over the years of all of our online profiles and sites to see if anything could be used against us in a negative way in the future. Although if we’ve learned anything from this discussion it’s that once something is posted online, even after being deleted, it’s possible that it’s still out there somewhere in some shape or form. Moving forward with protecting our identity for professional networking we can slowly shape our identity how we want it to be by streamlining what we post and how exactly we want to be seen by keeping in mind not just who will instantly see your posts but who may potentially see them in the future. This does not mean changing who you are, it just means becoming more wary about the importance of our personal presence online and how it could have possible career implications in the future.
1. Pilkington, Ed. “Justine Sacco, PR executive fired over racist tweet, ‘ashamed’” The Guardian. December 22, 2013. Accessed December 01, 2017. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/22/pr-exec-fired-racist-tweet-aids-africa-apology
2. Pilkington. “PR executive fired over racist tweet”
3. Dodd, Vikram. “Youth crime commissioner Paris Brown stands down over Twitter row” The Guardian. April 9, 2013. Accessed December 01, 2017.