Remember a couple of years ago when there was a lot of discussion about employers using internet-based social networks, like Facebook and MySpace, to screen job applicants? We were advised to use these so-called Web 2.0 tools cautiously to avoid the possibility of a potential employer discovering embarrassing photos or inappropriate comments. But was this ever relevant in the academic hiring process?
A recent article on the “Confessions of a Community College Dean” blog takes on this question. Dean Dad confesses to never having witnessed a hiring committee investigate a candidate’s Facebook or MySpace page. “I’ve spent most of this decade in administration,” says Dean Dad “and I have literally never seen social media emerge as an issue.”
This is just one administrator’s experience, but his testimony does suggest that perhaps the use of internet-based social networking tools might not be so fatal to one’s academic job search. If Dean Dad has yet to find a case in which the use of Facebook, Twitter, or blogging has harmed an applicant’s candidacy, I would be very interested to know if the use of any of these applications has helped someone land an academic position.