Here’s How Social Media Can Negatively Affect Us at Work

social media

Social media has grown immensely, becoming the average person’s main method of keeping in touch. Whether we’d like to admit it or not, many of us have likely been at our desks, passing the time with a quick scroll-break on Instagram.

As we’re exploring our feeds, getting a follow request from a coworker can feel innocuous. Maybe you’ve gone to a few post-work happy hours together, so what harm could be done by accepting? However, when our coworkers and supervisors become our followers, social media begins to blur the lines between our personal and professional lives.

To explore the effects social media can have on one’s career, WhoIsHostingThis asked over 900 people what worries them most about their digital histories, the measures they take to avoid any blunders, and if they’ve already faced repercussions for their digital hoarding.

 Have You Checked Your Profiles Lately?

Living in the internet age means many of our online profiles have likely existed for years. Ideally, NSFW content should be completely removed because it can come back to haunt you. Realistically speaking, though, all of the content across these various platforms is an overwhelming amount of information to sort through.

A more immediate step you can take is updating your profiles’ privacy settings so that they are only visible to close friends and family. If you’re currently in the market for a new job, it may be best to take action sooner rather than later, considering one in five respondents in a hiring position have denied someone a job due to an inappropriate online presence.

social media

The majority of respondents (80%) report never deleting text posts, photos, or videos from their social media, but this doesn’t mean there isn’t good reason to do some digital clean-up. 18% of the study’s respondents have already had their online content used against them at work.

Don’t Forget About the Oldies

Alongside never deleting previous posts, it’s likely many of today’s professionals have forgotten about the profiles that have phased out of popularity.

Remember MySpace? 69% of respondents still have their page up despite being inactive on the platform. If you still remember your login info, it would be beneficial to go back and delete your inactive profiles. It’s likely there’s still content being displayed that may not represent you in the best light.

The job market has been riding a huge wave of opportunity. Now is an ideal time for anyone looking to make their next career move. Taking the time to brush through not only old posts but also unused profiles can assure potential candidates their online presence showcases how they want to be perceived by employers.

Proceed with Caution When Leaving a Digital Footprint

It’s become second nature to document our daily happenings on social media. How many people still turn on   that makes them think twice before tapping “post”? How many find themselves forgetting to vet their own activity before it becomes public?

Half of the study’s respondents are concerned their online content will jeopardize their careers. Their concern is not baseless. Nowadays, it isn’t uncommon to hear stories of employees being fired for what they post.

Today’s professionals can potentially alleviate this worry by being selective about what they post and proceeding with caution. Over 3 in 4 respondents agree this is the best method for making sure your online content stays safe at home and at work.

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This guest post was authored by Toni Allen

Toni Allen is General Manager at

Ms. Career Girl

Ms. Career Girl was started in 2008 to help ambitious young professional women figure out who they are, what they want and how to get it.