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Social Media may not always be your best friend.

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This week I learned a valuable lesson. Social media is not always your best friend. This examiner has been feverishly applying for positions in the Human Resources arena for mostly restaurants. I thought I found a winner, and things were going great, until the perspective employer decided to look at my twitter account. Let me be frank here. There was no definite hire, and it may have been a long shot to even get this position, but twitter got in the way.
If anyone has read my articles this year, I’m a pretty straight shooter. I say what I mean, and I mean what I say. There are times however, that even this examiner makes a poor choice or life decision. Being in the Human Resources part of life, one would assume that I have excellent scruples, that I am very ethical, and professional. These are most certainly true. But I am human. The people who follow me on twitter know my career and send me things that I may find funny. Sometimes, I do not even realize some of the things I retweet, or even look at. It’s all in good cyber fun. Those who know me are aware that I police my daughters social media, as well as advised my wife to remove hers for her job, but never, ever, thought to limit mine, or even not retweet anything that some would find inappropriate. Since I have been home as “super dad” going on six months now, I have not really paid attention to the things I put on Twitter, and without thinking applied for a potential “dream job”. I should have realized that even in our beloved Restaurant business, there are those who are out there, may find offense to the things on one’s personal social media accounts. They certainly have the right to feel that way. But is shouldn’t stop there. If we are going to investigate someone’s social media, and use it as a tool to dislike, then we should also investigate that persons other personal life. They should look into everything. If they did, they would find out some interesting items about my life. They would find out that I busted my butt and championed change in the restaurant business years ago regarding the ethical treatment of woman managers. They should know that I have 2 daughters, one 17 and one 4, and I am very ethical and protective of. They should now that I busted my butt and put myself through college at 41 years old with a mission to work in Human Resources and help others succeed. They should now that I also took the entire summer to study for the PHR exam. They should know that I have a very religious and wonderful family. They should know that I have helped girls get off drugs and sacrificed for my employees. They should know that even though I may retweet something that may be a little strange, It’s not who I am, and it’s not who I will ever be. They should know that my wife, who is 15 years younger than I am, is also very ethical and spends hers days protecting the Commonwealth, and ensuring fairness and equality to everyone. Because she is younger, I also have younger friends. These friends and I engage in humor that may not always be for everyone. That’s not an excuse, that’s a fact. These same people should realize that you can’t ever judge a person by their twitter account. Any good company should have a social media policy intact. I have made it clear that I would certainly delete any social media accounts upon hire. This is fair and just. If you could see and understand the number of people I have mentored, the number of employees I have promoted, the number of personal hours I have taken out of my life to help others, then they would certainly not judge me by a social media account. Proof of this is easy to view. I use a separate Twitter account for my Examiner.com stories. I do not direct anyone to my personal account. I did make a mistake by trying to thank this employer for their hospitality on my personnel account, and because of that I am paying the price.
Do I feel bad for my retweets? Sure I do. There were some things on my account I deleted that even I felt were “aggressive and wrong” My mistake here was allowing others into my world and judging me over a retweet. Shame on me and shame on them. This really ended badly, and I feel horrible. Not only would have this been a dream job for me, it would have also been a very satisfactory experience for the employer. I am great at what I do, and I pride myself on learning and promoting culture where ever I work.
A quick moral to this story: Never judge a book by its twitter account. Protecting your interests are vital, as well as protecting your reputation. This being said, allow some understanding and allow your prospective employee the chance to make it right (without doing any damage to you)
Another quick moral to this story: Delete your social media accounts before applying for a dream job.

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