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Your Social Media Presence and Freedom of Expression

With the constant innovative introduction of social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Youtube, LinkedIn and Facebook it has become a challenge to not get absorbed into the frenzy surrounding social media. It has actually opened up a pathway for people to express themselves, paralleling the first amendment "freedom of speech", or otherwise known as freedom of expression.

The introduction of social media platforms has created a relationship between the hiring process and social media use. Employers no longer hesitate to search potential hires and skim through their accounts. For employers utilizing social media during the interview/hiring process serves many purposes. Not only does it offer the employer a more personal and authentic perspective into the employee it also gives the employer a chance to verify the potential employees credentials and qualifications.

Social networking sites such as LinkedIn serve as a way for individuals to offer a condensed version of their resumes, employers often cross check what was mentioned in interviews to what is posted on LinkedIn. Twitter has become a social media platform that allows us to voice our personal opinions and thoughts in just 140 characters. If employers have access to your Twitter and decide that your tweets do not align with their mission statement or company climate your chances of employment may be shattered.

The possibility of employers browsing your media accounts should not discourage from engaging in social networking sites. Managing your social networking sites does not have to be a challenge if you simply follow these tips. The law pertains to both employers and potential employees. You have the right to express yourself, to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas.

1. Peep what you tweet

Although it may be tempting to go on Twitter rants or tweet the first thoughts that pop into your mind, you should be aware that sometimes you words come back to haunt you. Making offensive remarks or comments about a race, sexuality, or religion can harm your chances of employment. Employers make it a priority to maintain tolerant work environments where all types of people can are respected and valued. An employee that exhibits prejudice behavior or makes insensitive remarks becomes a liability in the workplace. If you would not be willing to defend your tweets, facebook posts, or Instagram posts in an interview you probably shouldn't post them.

2. Be mindful of the photos you share

A picture is worth a thousand words, this saying remains true online. If employers stumble upon incriminating or inappropriate photos of you online this may taint the opinions they have formed of you. Photos of you upside down chugging from a beer keg will probably not appeal to employers looking to hire. In their eyes as an employee you become a representation of the company and your image reflects upon them.

3. Create appropriate email addresses, twitter handles, etc

When searching for you social media accounts the first thing employers notice are the names you have chosen for you accounts. Offensive or inappropriate handles do not bode well with employers. Account names like "sexykitten00″ are not acceptable in the professional world. Often times your social media handles set the tone for the content on your account, be sure that your handles do not put off potential employers.

Seeking employment should not strip you of self expression or freedom of speech. It is possible to maintain professional social media accounts, but also remain true to yourself. The key to managing your social media accounts is simple discretion. If you have any questions regarding how you can protect your right to freedom of expression online please contact us.

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