Consider an example of surveillance in your everyday life. What kind of information is involved? What kind of truths are revealed?

One particular type of surveillance that resonates with me at this particular point of time is the use of social media by potential employers.   I am reaching the end of my university degree and am keen on gaining full time employment within the communications sector. While applying for professional positions, I need to understand that my online life will be scrutinized by any person willing to employ me.

The omnopticon (everybody watching everybody) (Chalkley et. al.  211)  nature of social media allows everybody to carry out surveillance on anybody they want to. 

The nature of web services like Facebook results in a blurring of the boundary between the public and private selves, allowing those in/with authority to observe and react to our sometimes very personal interactions and postings. (Chalkley et. al. 211)

We leave ourselves open to scrutiny while posting intimate thoughts and feeling on any social medium.  Broder reiterates, employers are using Google and social media sites to perform preliminary background checks on candidates before they step foot in the door for an interview.  

Additionally, Broder believes that your online presence should always include the following steps,

Always look your best

Treat others (and yourself) the way you want to be treated.

Honesty is the best policy

By following these steps, you can avoid disappointment, heartache and maybe even legal issues arising from an error of judgment.  Lyncheski (35) goes on step further and discusses the legal implication for social media use at work.  He states,

A well-articulated and widely communicated social media policy is a must and employers would be wise to designate an individual within the organization to not only “police” social media usage, but to be available and responsive to employees when social media issues arise.

Although this statement relates to the legalities of using social media while at work, it can be tailored to the individual.  While using social media it is imperative to create your own policy of your social media personae to avoid unnecessary legal ramifications.

While writing this journal entry, I “googled” Julie-Ann Ellis and am happy to announce that my online presence is particularly sound.  The link to my facebook account (!/julieann.ellis1), cannot be opened, which means that my privacy setting are working.  Although I am pleased with these actions, I know that I am guilty of airing my dirty laundry on facebook, at times, but will endeavor to heed my own advice and follow the above steps, so that I do get that job! 

In conclusion, surveillance is all around us at all times. Social media sites are one particular type of modern day surveillance.  To deter or detract unwanted negative  omnopticon of ourselves, it is better to manage our online presence the same way that we manage ourselves in reality.

Broder, Lindsay. “Don’t Let your Social Media Footprint Kill Your Job Prospects.”  Fox Business, 2013. Web. 24 June 2013.

Chalkley, Tony, Adam Brown, Toija Cinque, Brad Warren, Mitchell Hobbs, and Mark Finn. Communication, New Media and Everyday Life.  South Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 2012.  Print.

Ellis, Julie-Ann. “Julie-Ann Ellis.” Facebook, 2013. Web.

Lyncheski, John E. “Social media in the workplace.” Long-Term Living 59 (2010): 32-35. Web. October 2010.

Published by Julie-Ann Pearl Ellis

Sharing and caring since 1974.

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