Are You Sure?

My biggest beef with social media is how fast misinformation can spread. You’d think people would have the good sense to question what they read/hear and do some quick internet searches to gauge its validity before spreading it to the masses as truth. The fact so much of what has gone “viral” in recent years has been pure baloney should give us all pause.

Last week several of my friends used various forms of social media to spread what was essentially dramatic fiction. It wasn’t their intention to promote lies, they simply did not question the source. The nugget of information was sensational and quickly raised hackles. They expressed their outrage and demanded others follow their lead and do the same. In less than a minute’s time I was able to find clear evidence what they were passing around was bunk. To make matters worse, when I pointed it out to them and encouraged them to check the facts, there was no acknowledgment of their mistake or effort to retract their words.

This is troubling and by no means rare. Social media is viewed by many as entertainment. I’m sure some think it’s no big deal. With people fired up over political and social issues, the atmosphere is ripe for good judgment to take a back seat to passion. Passion is a wonderful thing, but loses its credibility when frosted with fiction.

Why am I writing about this on a blog focused on job search strategy? That’s easy. Job seekers have a lot to lose by spreading misinformation. Imagine how it plays out in the mind of a potential employer. This individual could do the same thing in our environment. He could jump to conclusions and spread rumors/gossip without hesitation. This person allows emotion to compromise his decision making ability. Would he express outrage over things at our company, true or false, through his Twitter and Facebook accounts?

These are all reasonable questions to ask. Cover your bases. Your social media outlets are indeed yours for your own expression. By now you’ve likely heard the warnings when it comes to debating political, social and religious issues with the masses in such a public way. If you wish to go that route it is certainly your choice. Do yourself the good favor of some quick fact checking. Even employers on the same side of the issues as you could hold your willingness to spread inaccurate information against you. Quite frankly, they should.

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