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Agrimarketing : November December 2007
When speaking about Millenni- als, the newest generation entering the workforce, tech- nology is synonymous! This genera- tion, plus those of other generations whom they've influenced, have watched a number of new technolo- gies evolve allowing information to be shared with the world at a faster pace. With these advances come new opportunities and challenges. SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES So you aren't familiar with social net- working sites --- don't worry we'll get you up-to-speed! Social network sites are an online source for people to keep in contact with friends, class- mates, family, and co-workers. They provide a virtual community for fun, socializing and networking among people with shared interests or causes. Examples of social network- ing sites include MySpace and Face- book, the more common, but also LinkedIn and Friendster for example. These sites feature personal profiles where people can upload comments, facts, pictures, videos, chat and much more. Pretty much the sky is the limit for content! Benefits of social networking sites include being able to locate and chat with friends (old and new); building new relationships; entertainment; information resource; and keeping in touch with others. Another useful benefit for employers and businesses is that if your target audience fits those that use social networking sites, it is an inexpensive and used method to market products or career opportu- nities. Also, these sites can be used to promote information sessions, career fairs, and the overall company. "I mainly use Facebook to keep up with my friends from out of state, and it is also fun just to look around at all the funny pictures and postings that people put on there," said Ash- ley Schmidt, Senior at Texas A&M University. While there are differing opin- ions on the legality of using social networking sites to explore potential candidates or current employees, companies are currently doing this. BE CAUTIOUS Knowing that employers are using these sites in this potential manner, can lead to some serious ramifica- tions to your professional career. Not to mention, things placed on these sites, if not careful, can lead to identity theft, criminal charges, and intrusion of privacy. Each network- ing site has different policies and procedures when it comes to allow- ing access to personal profiles. If you are considering developing a profile or currently have one, this may be something you would like to con- sider based on the content included in your profile. "While social networking sites seem to be the "it" thing right now --- not everyone is a user, let alone are they comfortable with exposing details about themselves via an online avenue," said Kathryn Doan, AgCareers.com Global Business Development Manager. "At the end of the day, if you are a social network user you have to remember that these sites are a platform not only to connect but an avenue that your information is freely accessible for users to see." If you have a social networking profile out there and your employer was to look you up, what would they find? Keep in mind content of pictures, comments and chats. Most often all of that information is avail- able if you've allowed access. Again, as mentioned earlier, the verdict is still out as to some of the legality issues of using these sites as screen- ing tools, but the best advice we can give is to assume that employers will have access to what is posted. Another protective step for you is to search for yourself using Google or the search function on the net- work. These sites often allow others to tag you in photographs and you may not even know they have posted it. If you do find photos/ comments that you would prefer not to have posted, the first action step is to contact the person and kindly ask for them to be removed. Many of the sites also have policies in place to override tags and allow you to remove content. While social networking sites might not be on your radar, they are rapidly growing and provide an array of positive benefits for employ- ers and users which should not be ignored. Whichever side of the coin you are on be cautious of how you use the sites. AM November/December 2007 AgriMarketing 13 SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES The Scoop on Recruiting
2008 Marketing Services Guide