Big Brother is watching you… So is your employer.

“Time for your monthly Facebook check and drug test!”- Newitz, 2012

The use of social media is at an all time high. It is addictive. People love it. There are 1.11 billion Facebook users, Instagram has 100 million, Twitter with 500 million, and of course it’s all growing. The proliferation of participate”y culture and self produced media is all part of Tim O’Reilleys famously termed Web 2.0 that Robert Howard discusses in The Vernacular Web of Participatory Media.
Howard acknowledges that users or ‘prosumers’ can bypass traditional institutions and offer their “vernacular creations” directly to internet users. This is extremely useful when it comes to work such as an author wanting to publish a novel. Instead of going through a traditional publishing house which is hard, competitive and time consuming, the author can use one of numerous online self publishing websites and publish their book straight to users and set their own price and distribution rates.
But as we have seen this week, combining work and social media can not be all that positive.

Instead of the good ol’ background check, it’s not a Facebook check. Employers are asking to access potential employee’s social media accounts to get all the information that they need. But you not only need to take be cautious when applying for a job. But when you have one too.

Like the hairdresser, in the Escape Hair Design vs Sally-Anne Fitzgerald case, Fitzgerald was dismissed due to her employers discovering her sarcastic comments towards the hair salon and her “no holiday pay” and “xmas ‘bonus'”. Although she didn’t mention the name of the salon, she was fired. However, if she is writing statuses about her work situation, she would most likely have who she works for on her Facebook profile anyway. Easy enough for friends to put two and two together.

It is very easy, too easy, to express your feelings via social networking sites, but the smart thing is to not do it. Even if you think everything is set to the strictest privacy settings, check again. Even better, don’t post negative work related comments at all.Of course this is hard for some people to do, or not do. As discussed in class, it may be appropriate for businesses to create some soft of social media policy tailored to their specific workplace __________________________________________________________________________________

Find user numbers for a whole list of social network sites on this link –>

Newitz, A, 2012, ‘Why Facebook is the future of workplace surveillance’, Welcome from the future,, accessed 11/05/2013.


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