Is Facebook Contributing to High Unemployment?

If you haven’t stumbled upon it already, take a look at Jeffrey Rosen’s piece in the NY Times from a couple of weeks ago, “The Web Means the End of Forgetting.” Rosen is a legal scholar and his piece reflects that, but it goes beyond matters of law and regulation to reflect on the nature of identity itself in a world saturated by social media.  It is full of interesting insights, statistics, and anecdotes.

Among those interesting statistics:

According to a recent survey by Microsoft, 75 percent of U. S. recruiters and human-resource professionals report that their companies require them to do online research about candidates, and many use a range of sites when scrutinizing applicants — including search engines, social-networking sites, photo- and video-sharing sites, personal Web sites and blogs, Twitter and online-gaming sites.

No surprise there, but there’s more.

Seventy percent of U. S. recruiters report that they have rejected candidates because of information found online, like photos and discussion board conversations and membership in controversial groups.

It seems the Department of Labor may need a new statistic to chart social-media induced unemployment.

2 thoughts on “Is Facebook Contributing to High Unemployment?

  1. It is true that companies are doing those kinds of searches and investigations now. Last week, I heard a report on NPR about a teacher who was fired because of something having to do with her facebook page. Another teacher whom NPR interviewed claimed that she left a party and went home immediately to “untag” herself from all photos that evening because she didn’t want people from her work seeing that she had (and this is a paraphrase, but a close one) “going out clothes.” I wonder if Bentham’s panopticon prison has come of age on a much larger level, now that we are all visible to everyone at all times. And, horror of horrors, we are largely willing participants!

    1. That is a really interesting connection. To throw in another allusion, its the whole 1984/Brave New World sort of distinction. The panopticon is not (only) a tool of an oppressive government, but a reality we’ve opted for at some level. Take a look at Rosen’s article if you haven’t already. It touches on this theme. Echoes of Foucault in all of this too.

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