Friday Jul 22 2011
Locals feels the sting of social media mishaps
By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
Misunderstandings erupt, privacy intruded upon
Leslie Carroll was surprised to see that her own sister had “unfriended” her on Facebook. Carroll, 31, of Auburn, was experiencing her first taste of social media networking gone awry. The tool that once kept her connected to her family on the West Coast, while living on the East Coast, became the cause of a wedge between them. Carroll is one of many locals who have experienced both the pleasures and pains of the digital communication tool. While they say sites like Facebook have their advantages, many are aware that personal and professional consequences could result from using them. Some local employers say they even view a potential candidate’s Facebook page when making job considerations. Knowing that is what put Carroll on the path to her digital drama. While job hunting Carroll attempted to block parts of her profile from future employers. In the process she inadvertently blocked her sister, who misinterpreted the action. In retaliation, she removed Carroll from her friends list. “It’s hard to see how you can block all your photos, so I had to block it from everyone. I guess nobody could see my photos, wall posts or comments. My sister defriended me. I had to unblock everyone and re-add her,” Carroll said. “I’m sure on both accounts it was frustrating. I was slightly peeved with her because I thought she was being inane and childish and I think she was hurt.” Tamara Hendrickson, of Auburn, took a class on social media networking through the Placer School For Adults. While Facebook has allowed her to catch up with old friends, some reunions have been unwanted. Right after Hendrickson created her account, Facebook sent e-mails to many of her e-mail contacts inviting them to become members. One recipient was her ex-fiancé, who she didn’t want to have contact with. “I was engaged to someone before and he was a little crazy. (Facebook) automatically sent invitations to everyone in my e-mail,” Hendrickson said. “He had a personality disorder and was e-mailing me after that. Then I just got rid of him off of there. I kind of like to keep it private.” Hendrickson’s class instructor, Arij Mousa, teaches her students how to use the privacy settings on Facebook and other social media networking sites. “When they add friends to their Facebook they can decide how their list should be arranged,” Mousa said. “They can select groups like friends, family and co-workers and share with people accordingly. They can share personal information with family and friends and block professionals from their information.” The Placer County Sheriff’s Office is one employer that views job candidates’ Facebook, according to Dena Erwin, spokeswoman for the Placer County Sheriff’s Office, “The Sheriff’s Office does look at Facebook,” Erwin said. “They use it as a tool to give insight into the candidate. They certainly will look at it and see if there is anything they should know about the person.” Erwin said the office can only view someone’s page if it is made public. While no one has ever been denied employment based on content posted on their profile, it is taken into consideration, according to Erwin. Placer High football coach Joey Montoya said he isn’t aware of any strict policies regarding Facebook at Placer, but he does encourage his players to be careful what information they make public. “Kids don’t really think what they put online is permanent and not only will it affect them now, but could eventually cost them later on when they are in their adult lives,” Montoya said. “People have lost their jobs.” Mousa said overall she hasn’t seen many cases of social media networking having consequences. “It’s time-consuming. If you try to answer every comment or post of 200 friends, that could be seen as a waste of time,” Mousa said. “All of social networking is a wonderful tool for people if used properly.” Reach Sara Seyydin at firstname.lastname@example.org.