In Opinions: OK, so this is my first ever post on Our Wired World and I tried to pick something positive to write, but it’s this headline that caught my attention: Barack Obama warns of Facebook perils. The US president has warned teenagers against putting too much information on social networking websites like Facebook as something stupid they write now as part of fun might turn around to haunt them later. This might sound too cynical to some, but it’s the reality of the web. Anything we publish stays there, somewhere. The Domino’s employees who thought they were being super funny by messing with food, eventually got fired when their disgusting YouTube upload turned out to be a crisis management lesson for the brand. The truth is that employers are researching social media sites like Facebook for information about job candidates. This is another reason why people need to be extra careful when putting messages, pictures, links etc on their pages.
It’s not just employers but even marketers who are increasingly monitoring such sites to either promote their product or get an insight into their target audience. Softwares like Sentry and FamilySafe that are used by parents to monitor the online activities of their kids can read private chats under Yahoo, MSN etc and provide data to marketers regarding kids’ opinion on a certian movie, video game, music album etc. What’s more, marketers can even ‘buy friends’ on Facebook for promotion purposes (read SPAM) with Australian marketing company uSocial offering 1000 – 5000 Facebook friends at a cost to those interested.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big advocate of social media, but I do think that one needs to be extra careful when operating in this very public domain.