Hello future potential employers! Welcome to BU Culture Shock. Please enjoy my posts (I particularly recommend my poetry), and please don’t hold anything you see here against me. I hope you like it!
I wonder if that’s a disclaimer that I should put on all of my Culture Shock posts. I wonder what will follow me 5, 10, 20 years down the road. The Internet doesn’t forget. Hell, every Tweet is stored in the Library of Congress for all time. In a video from the 2012 presidential election, the Onion jokes that “every potential 2040 president already unelectable due to Facebook,” and I’m not sure how much of a joke that will be in a few decades. We all see what ends up on Facebook, and, whether you’re tagged or not, people will be able to find something if they’re looking for it hard enough.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t concerned about the impact of a Google search on my employment prospects. Especially as a teacher, I think the bar is a little bit higher: I’m being hired as a role model for kids. I think I am and will be a good influence, but will something like that come across online? I don’t attack many controversial subjects, but that doesn’t mean I have an Internet voice that will appeal to everyone. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if what’s online gets me hired over another applicant, or gets another applicant hired over me.
I’m reasonably proud of my online persona, especially Culture Shock. I never want to be in a position where I feel the need to contact the blog and have them remove my posts, but I also don’t want to feel the need to censor myself now because of who might stumble upon my posts down the road. It’s a difficult line to walk. And honestly, my opinions on the electoral college might be controversial enough to eliminate me from the 2040 presidential race.
So what’s a guy to do? Until we have enough of a sample of how the world reacts to the first generation raised with the Internet, it’s hard to know how to handle things. Rule number one, of course, is don’t be stupid. Tweeting about bong hits and posting pictures of you getting drunk before your high school prom should be no-brainers. But there’s a gray area in many other cases. I hope my potential employers down the line give me the benefit of the doubt if they’re less than impressed with what’s online under my name.
And if you are my potential employers, and you are giving me the benefit of the doubt: Thank you! I won’t disappoint.