digital natives and the elevator twitpitch

i read this plea to ban employers trawling Facebook some time ago via a link through danah's blog, and while yes, i agreed to an extent, i didn't really think long and hard about it until elevator (twit)pitches arose.

now, i do think twitpitches can be useful. i like the simplicity, the conciseness, the mandate for effectiveness and efficiency. it does not allow for fluff but instead lets the work (ie, a link) do the talking. this is, on the whole, a brilliant idea--especially when aimed toward those who know well enough to craft themselves online; those who know and expect their online 'persona' to affect their working world.

but what about the up-and-coming folks, the "digital natives" as the phrase goes? they were not considering the twitpitch (and all that follows) when they were journaling online at age 13, sneaking into frats at 16, or generally doing "self-exploration" that they may not later wish to admit to (especially when some sites, like Facebook, make it so hard to delete the tracks later on).

as the article i first link to states,
“A world where even a 14-year-old has to think twice before posting an adolescent poem suddenly looks very unappealing and increases the pressure on children and young people to conform to a set of tightly focused adult norms.” (excerpt)

i recently asked my twitter followers this question;
@luckthelady was nice enough to respond, saying that:
To a degree, certainly. I definitely wouldn't hold it against a girl if she got drunk at a frat party, but...
If she's considered to be dishonest, a repeated flake or someone with a bad reputation, it would definitely affect the offer.

do you agree? disagree?
what do you take into account in your employment decision when "e-searching" someone? how well do you expect them to "cover their tracks" (or do you expect at all)? do you think this is unfair to begin with and puts digital natives on an uneven playing field with their more-crafted, older brethren?

and, my question also: how do you determine if someone is a "repeated flake" (for example) online? ie, what if they simply don't check Facebook in particular a lot? or how to measure this over the span of 4 years on Facebook? at what point is social media, aimed at friends, no longer about personal facts but professional representation?

i have questions. i'd be interested in any answers.


& said...

personally, as a "native" who discovered the internet at the tender age of 13, e-searches by employers doesn't worry me all that much.

maybe i'm just naive due to the fact that i was lucky enough to work somewhere extremely lax right out of college, but i'd like to think that pictures of me holding a 40oz, or even [gasp] holding a 40z in one hand and a blunt in the other wouldn't completely trash my possibility of employment. it's not like your normal facebook/myspace user plasters images of themselves shooting heroin or snorting coke off strippers online in their most recent "sPrInG bReAk 98!@#" photo album. [they save those images purely for their own personal archives i'm sure.]

not only that, but it only seems logical that companies who actually take the time to e-search possible employees would also most likely issue a background check & drug test upon hiring [even i underwent that scrutiny], and if you pass all that and don't show up to your New Hire orientation sloshed, it should be enough proof that what is found on the internet is merely stillframes of past experiences and not necessarily proof of what always is.

Make the logo bigger said...

I think HR is just going to do it regardless. They may rely more on a LinkedIn referral, and if they can’t get the info they need, maybe go to secondary sources for info.

But if someone is trolling twitter like that to grab a few soundbites about someone and have that matter? Yikes.

One person with an agenda on Twitter or anywhere is enough to mess things up.

DavidGriner said...

My old boss at a newspaper received an internship application from a girl whose e-mail address was listed as something along the lines of "ILikeToWatch@hotmail.com".

I just cite this as a good example of my theory that discovering your online trail of debauchery should at least require something more than a cursory look.