Tech Watch: Social Media and Privacy Rights

Category:  Tech Watch
Wednesday, January 9th, 2013 at 12:59 PM
Tech Watch: Social Media and Privacy Rights by Brennan Donnelly
Wikimedia Commons

Your tweets, posts, statuses, and pics may be a little safer today. Six states (California, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, and New Jersey) recently banned employers from requesting an employee’s personal login information to social media platforms. States are putting these laws in place as protection against invasion of privacy, which are being created after several employers demanded personal login information from employees to either “snoop” their accounts, or remove content and material of which they did not approve. As a result, employees were being robbed of personal freedoms outside of work and being punished within their place of employment for actions unrelated to performance.

Personally, this strikes a nerve. An employee should be held accountable for her/his actions within the office, at the office. What someone posts, believes, or publishes outside of the office should be irrelevant, as long as it does not interfere with or damage that person’s professional performance, reputation, or the reputation of the company.

Clearly, employers still have access to all public information – that is, anything you choose to share, publish, or make public. Many people choose to keep this information hidden for fear of disapproval from others or in an attempt to separate their personal life from their professional life. This raises a debate on what someone should share and serves as a great opportunity to consider some of these tips and suggestions. The line between personal and professional becomes thinner each day as social media continues to deeply imbed itself into our culture and way of existence. In the end, if anyone wants to discover what you have been posting, they will find a way to do so – possibly through friends of friends or by using a different account.

But this is not as prevalent of a problem as some fear. Most employers are concerned with the operations of the business, not what you and your family and friends had for dinner last night. If you are using social media to post inappropriate photos or bash someone else, it will come back to get you. Remember that this is no different than before. Social media simply provides a new medium for individuals’ bad decisions to be broadcasted on.

When it comes to editing/monitoring/screening your cyber existence, do so carefully. Ultimately, if you have everything hidden, it may keep you “safe,” or it may raise suspicion. Looking at the opposite end of the spectrum, if you have everything public, it may convey self-confidence, pride, and individualism, or it may create opposition from those who do not agree with your views and behavior. Social media is no different than screaming at a party. Not everyone is always going to agree with what you say or your actions, so use your head – if you don’t want everyone to know, don’t post it.

We are taught that networking is the most powerful tool in the professional landscape, yet the fear of sharing their lives and events hinders many people. Opposition is a barrier to success that you will encounter whether you use social media or not. Leverage these social media platforms for what they are worth in a responsible manner. No one expects you to be a lifeless being outside of the office. Share your thoughts and experiences, by doing so you become more relatable, but – assume your boss, parents and grandparents will see it, because they probably will – and then post confidently.

 

Brennan Donnelly can be contacted at Epic@ErieReader.com

Erie Reader: Vol. 4, No. 23
Now Available — Pick It Up Today

CURRENT

Take a break from another miserable Monday to read today's terrifying headlines from around the world: the U.S. continues nuclear talks with Iran, a fatal police shooting shocks Cleveland, and a young man from Philly is named a Rhodes Scholar. As always, we've got you covered. 

Google searching for solution to European Parliament resloution.

Five months after the Supreme Court rules against it, Aereo files for Chapter 11 protection.

House Republicans are suing the President. Where's Edgar Snyder when you need him?

President Obama addressed the nation last night in regards to his new plan for immigration policy, did you tune in? If you didn't we've got you covered. In other news, the CIA is trying to delete all their old emails, and in Iraq and Syria the refugee crisis seems to be getting out of hand. 

IN THIS ISSUE

The popular genre-bending cellist and composer brings his distinct brand of indie folk to Erie.

The comedy legend makes his first Erie appearance.

Local organization Pro Wrestling Rampage celebrates its 7th anniversary.

Addressing the future of athletics in the Erie School District.

The imminent closing of Shur-fine on West Eighth Street will result in a food desert.

In 2102, a van and a narrow patch of asphalt changed Bob Sonnenberg’s life permanently.

This crowdfunding program could be the answer Erie needs to foster new businesses.

To invest, or not to invest taxpayer money in the Public Safety Radio System – that is the question.

The Texas-based band brings their metalcore to Basement Transmissions.

The real reason the Republican Party came out on top Nov. 4.