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The Table @ Aspen: The Reporter and Facebook

05 Jul 2008 10:18 am

Digital Storytelling, Part One:  Is it ethical for reporters to use Facebook to track down sources?  Are everday citizens aware that their online lives are now fair game?  Should journalists even have their own facebook profiles?  In this third session of The Table @ Aspen, Marc Ambinder, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Michael Hirschorn, Megan McArdle and Sean Parker look for answers: 

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Comments (3)

As someone who recently graduated college and has many friends still on the job hunt, I can say with some confidence that members of my generation are constantly getting a better feel for how to control their own digital identities. And while it is true that snooping has become more sophisticated in recent years, most students are very aware of this and, even if they don't put it into practice, have a good idea of how to protect themselves from unwanted exposure. This level of common sense among users will only increase as time goes on, I'd like to think.

McArdle raises an interesting point about the possibility of changed standards. There seems to be a common belief among young people that many curious employers actually like to see evidence of a healthy yet legal social life. Anyone out there with some perspective on that?

I think as long as you aren't seen engaging in inappropriate activities (though the definition of inappropriate could be up for grabs) there should be a positive association with those who lead well-rounded lives. I agree that anyone who is on the internet in this day and age should understand the implications of listing their personal information the world wide web. This should apply to more than just students.

To AK's question:

I've hired a team of marketing and sales people over the past two years and I have googled all of them, checked to see if they have Facebook pages, and looked into their linkedin profiles before even interviewing them. Racy photos and weird profiles on facebook are a surefire way to not get a call back even if the resume is decent. I speak personally when I say that I hope my employees have an active social life, but those who need to publicize it on the web are probably not the ideal candidates for client-facing professional roles that require discretion.

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