The Dangers of Social Media

Using Social Media Responsibly

By: Sam Crume, Summer Intern at Freeman+Leonard. Sam is a Sophomore Business Major at Fordham University in New York and is from Dallas, TX.

Imagine if someone could read minds. Think about the consequences of your peers hearing your inner monologue. What if our deepest thoughts were public information? Maybe you’re someone who has to bite your tongue every time you see a particular co-worker or your boss. Maybe you are a college student looking for a job and a certain professor makes you squirm.  Maybe you had a rough night that you don’t want anyone to know about. Do you really want this information getting back to people you know? We live in a world of instant access to an infinite amount of information; however, your personal information doesn’t have to be among the masses of the internet. You don’t have to post inappropriate pictures or write offensive things, there is a choice to be responsible.

It seems today that everyone is using social media. According to Tom Webster of Edison Research, “51% of adults in the United States, ages 12 and up are using Facebook,” and Twitter has between 36 and 56 million active users. That’s a lot of people. Consider this; about one out of every two people have access to whatever someone posts on Facebook and about one out of every seven people have access to whatever is tweeted. Future employers, grandparents, parents, friends, and co-workers have access to whatever you do and say.

Think of social media as another way to build the brand that is you. What do you want a potential employer or recruiter to think you stand for? As a college student and intern, I know that every student is worried about finding a job after graduation. As a student, you want to have every edge you can possibly get. That being said, college is a time of change, uncertainty, independence, and yes, often stupidity. Just assume that everyone whom you know and will ever know will read what you post. Your future boss doesn’t want to find out that you made a racial slur over twitter, and Grandma doesn’t need to see the pictures of you and you’re buddies drunk at a party. You never want to forget that you added a colleague or superior and then made a rude remark about them. Think about the consequences of what information you are making public. In regards to finding a job, think of social media as another way to build the brand that is you. What do you want a potential employer or recruiter to think you stand for?

It is important to understand that you’re digital footprint can only grow. Once something is out there, it stays out there.  Imagine whatever you do on the internet as a permanent tattoo. The tattoo might be under your shirt, but with a little effort, it can be seen. You may have posted something years ago, and that picture, tweet, or status update is somewhere out there. Whether you’re applying for an internship over the summer, or running for political office, your words literally will echo for eternity.  Employers are now able to run background checks on individuals through social media sites. There is an entire industry arising to do background checks on social media sites. According to Jennifer Preston of the New York Times, “There is a year-old start-up, known as Social Intelligence, which scrapes the Internet for everything prospective employees may have said or done online in the past seven years.” According to Preston, Social Intelligence assembles a profile of everything you’ve done that meets the criteria of “racist remarks; references to drugs; sexually explicit photos, text messages or videos; flagrant displays of weapons or bombs and clearly identifiable violent activity.” You can’t clean it up. We must simply be responsible.

Social media sites can be an extremely useful tool when it comes to job searching. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn will get your name out there, and help build networks.

Here are some guidelines that I like to live by when using the internet.

  1. Don’t post a picture or reference any illegal activity.
  2. Don’t post offensive commentary regarding any racial, cultural, or religious community.
  3. Don’t insult people in a position of authority. An insult to your boss over the internet is still an insult, and cause to be reprimanded or even fired.
  4. Don’t share personal information that you don’t want everyone to know about.
  5. Most importantly, don’t write anything that you wouldn’t be willing to say to anyone. Imagine that your grandparents will read everything you ever post and see every picture.

If you’d like to read more, check out these great sources:

How to Lose a Job via Facebook in 140 Characters or Less

To Blog or Not to Blog – How Blogging and Social Networking Can Impact Your Job Search

Facebook Achieves Majority

Google+ hit or miss? The New Social Network

By: Sondra Heffernan, Freeman+Leonard Marketing Assistant


Google launched its new social networking site, Google+, or Google Plus, only three weeks ago and popularity is booming and new users are accumulated everyday by its invitation only launch.

Google+ only needs a name and a photo to set up a profile, and the profile itself is simple, easy to navigate, and surprisingly similar to a Facebook profile. But what makes if different from the other social media websites is the unique features it offers. The Google+ networking site includes five basic components: Circles, Sparks, Hangouts, Instant Uploads and Huddle.

Circles – You share different things with different people. But sharing the right stuff with the right people shouldn’t be a hassle. Circles makes it easy to put your friends from Saturday night in one circle, your parents in another, and your boss in a circle by himself, just like real life. Organize your circles the way you want, to share what you want to who you want.

Sparks – Sparks looks for videos and articles it thinks you’ll like, so when you’re free, there’s always something to watch, read, and share. Sharing something of interest just got easier.

Hangouts – Bumping into friends while you’re out and about is one of the best parts of going out and about. With Hangouts, the unplanned meet-up comes to the web for the first time. Let buddies know you’re hanging out and see who drops by for a group video chat.

Instant Uploads – Taking photos is fun. Sharing photos is fun. Getting photos off your phone and on to the web is pretty much the opposite of fun. That’s why we created Instant Upload: so that from now on, your photos upload themselves.

Huddle – Texting is great, but not when you’re trying to get six different people to decide on a movie. Huddle takes care of it by turning all those different conversations into one simple group chat, so everyone gets on the same page.


This week Gooogle+ hit a whopping 20 million users! The new social site is setting records in terms of user growth, but some analysts think that moving into the social media realm is a bad move for Google. There has been a lot of buzz created around its instant popularity, but GoogleBuzz and GoogleWave grew just as fast and both failed due to lack of privacy.

Let us know your thoughts on Google Plus… Will Google+ succeed to become another social media outlet?

New to Google+? Learn more here.

Optimizing LinkedIn Webinar

Freeman+Leonard hosted an interactive and information-filled webinar today… the first in a series of Freeman+Leonard Digital Lunch and Learns, designed to get you up to speed with all the changes in digital tools, technology and social media, and better equip you to put these new marketing vehicles and channels to work on building your brand and business.

Today’s topic – Optimizing LinkedIn was led by Scott Cone, a Freeman+Leonard Game Changer in Houston, and LinkedIn networker extraordinaire, Raegan Hill.

LinkedIn is the number one business social network in the world, reaching a total of over 100 million professionals…21 million unique users every month.

Click here to download a copy of today’s presentation.