The following is a guest post care of Rose Leonard, of I live with crazy people fame (okay, so she might not be famous… yet, but she will be.)
Recently, I was offered a position in the public service. I will be working closely with a high ranking member of this particular organisation, and as such I will be expected to act in a professional and discreet manner. I expected this, and in the interest of full disclosure, I mentioned in the job interview that I use many social media websites, and that I have a relatively strong online identity. My future boss looked confused by a) social media and b) online identities. He admitted to having no knowledge of the internet.
A few hours after my interview, I received a call. I had been Googled, and my boss was freaking out. I seemed to be broadcasting my entire life to the world via some ‘Twitter’ nonsense. I also had a ‘blog’ that detailed illegal behaviour committed by people I know! (Not by me.) I was quickly informed that if I wanted the position, this would all have to go. The organisation I work for has received considerable negative press in the past 10 years, thanks to Howard, and apparently they just can’t risk a senior official being linked to this sort of thing. I agreed and offered to shut it all down.
However, I feel that they’ve missed the point of my online behaviour. It is an outlet, and has little to do with how I behave in a professional environment. I made no mention of who they were when I discussed the interview on Twitter. I am pretty clear on my blog that the actions committed by the people around me are not also committed by myself.
I can’t help but wonder if this is all fair. How can a man who admitted to having no knowledge of these websites declare them to be unsafe? More importantly, if he openly admits to having a bad public image attached to himself and the organisation, why not welcome a new way to reach people and change? Their website is outdated and confusing. They have no youtube or twitter presence. Instead of looking at a new employee with a strong understanding of this as untrustworthy, why not implement my understanding? He’s demonising something he has no comprehension of, simply because I’m younger than him and therefore less intelligent. (Apparently.)