I’ll never forget a job interview I went on back in early 2005. I Googled one of the twentysomething employees who was going to interview me and found a fraternity photo, pants down (he was wearing boxers). The entire interview, I thought about that photo. I got the job and the pants-down image was eventually replaced by the hard working ambitious personae he had on the job. I stumbled upon this article in a campus newspaper about how organizations like fraternities are beginning to speak to their members about the effect posting inappropriate photos can have on their reputation — not just your personal reputation but on the organization as a whole.
I think this is an important concept for teens to get. It reminds me of an interview I did for Totally Wired with a parent whose daughter was applying for a job as a C.I.T. (counselor in training) at a summer camp. Her daughter had posted a liquor ad on her MySpace page. Mom explained that the parents of kids at the summer camp where she was going to be working might not be too thrilled to find that on her page. Her daughter “got it” and removed the ad.
Connecting teens’ individual postings and actions online with organizations they are affiliated with — whether it’s a sports team, a church group or the drama club can help them to understand the potential ramifications of what they might post. By thinking about how it may reflect poorly not just on them, but on a group they care about, teens might think twice about posting a risque photo or take one down.