Your Online Presence

by Rhode

Millenials like to work online and have a presence there… how do you handle your online presence? What about that of your children? And finally, have you ever noticed something on a colleague’s social media page that may cause them trouble? Did you tell them?


83 thoughts on “Your Online Presence

  1. I have a facebook page with about 10 friends, 3 of whom are my kids. I rarely/never check it, and I don’t post to it.

  2. “I have a facebook page with about 10 friends, 3 of whom are my kids. I rarely/never check it, and I don’t post to it.”

    +1. I have a profile on LinkedIn, as it’s important in my profession. However, this is the only place that I have an active online presence.

  3. I am on FB, LinkedIn (work), Twitter (work), Instagram, Flickr, and Pinterest. I am not friends with any work people on FB and only post things so my friends can see. Also, no naked pictures of the kids (like the cute 2 yo in the tub – none of that).

    The only thing that I have seen online that was questionable for work/judgment purposes was a picture one of DH’s cousins posted of him drinking at a tailgate when he was 18. Thinking back, I’m really glad we didn’t have smartphones with cameras when I was in college!

  4. questionable for work/judgment purposes was a picture one of DH’s cousins posted of him drinking at a tailgate when he was 18.

    I’m scandalized just reading about.

  5. I am active on Facebook and I have a blog and a blog I maintain for my dog since he’s a crap typist and keeps talking about how great Lotus Notes was. I only Instagram to see what my kids are up to and I HATE Twitter – for me it is like Vegemite, can’t understand how anyone could like it.

  6. Rhett, don’t you see, it was just our concern ON HIS BEHALF that nosy HR Barbara would look into it when he was going for a summer internship. ;)

  7. HR Barbara would look into it when he was going for a summer internship. ;)

    And see that he’d be a great fit. Tee totaling prudes need not apply.

  8. Be grateful for the tea totaling prudes who drove you home. :)

    I am on Facebook and Linked In. I joined Linked In while I was a SAHM and got my colleagues to write recommendations so it would be done when I went to job-hunt. I also took the FE/EIT, which I had never taken before. It was part of my attempt at remaining employable.

    I use Facebook mostly to share/learn about local stuff (May the 4th Be With You celebration, strawberries are ripe at U-pick farm, Park and Rec science activities, three more earthquakes off the coast locally this week) and to laugh at friends. I enjoy the articles that my researcher friends post and they either like or don’t comment on my kid stuff. It would be virtually impossible here to have a strict separation of work/family, since almost everyone I know is at least a friend of a friend. I realize that for some jobs, letting people know I have kids could be a disadvantage, but I’m OK with that.

  9. Work and personal are separate. I mainly post pictures of my kids to keep the family updated. Some of my past colleagues from way back are friends on FB but no current work mates. For work related questions I can be found on Linked In. Other than this blog, I don’t post or follow any other content consistently.

  10. One of my FB friends had a close relationship with the American tourist who was tragically killed by a lion in South Africa a few days ago. After her death he immediately deactivated his FB account before anyone could pull and publish random photos of them together. Photos of the victim and her family are splashed all over some publications, taken from her FB and Instagram accounts. Whenever I see photos like these of people involved, sometimes peripherally, in some scandal or horrific incident I start to think I need better online pictures of myself just in case.

  11. I can’t imagine a post like that. But then again, his death was so public and she is well known for writing about her family life. I imagine lots of people are curious and that will get a lot of attention. It might help take the pressure off of her to explain over and over.

  12. I have FB, a long forgotten twitter account with no posts and never used instagram. I had couple of anon generic blogs that are also long forgotten. So I just really use FB and one of those snap chat and watsapp things for chatting with friends. I am.very careful about what I post on FB because as a lawyer I know how it can come back to bite you. I feel very passionate about certain topics and really really have to bite my tongue when I see it on facebook. Also pics of my kid only tangentially literally. So if anyone wants to have a full face of the kid, they will have to really cut and paste from different pics.

  13. Some of my past colleagues from way back are friends on FB but no current work mates.

    Same here. People are funny and you never know what will set someone off. Pre-facebook I knew of someone who had it out for another person on the team because her diamond was too big and she worked part time. Imagine the same dynamic but with pics of your vacations, private school ceremonies, etc. driving that same person to distraction.

  14. With very few exceptions my FB contacts and my LinkedIn contacts are separate and distinct. I manage my FB contacts in to a number of categories and rarely post outside of “close friends” or “family” categories. I have FB set that I must approve things before go on my FB page. Many of the moms at the MS use FB to share pics of kid/school activities and the parents have a FB page for things like field trip signups, donations needed, etc. It has almost replaced email.

    LinkedIn is for work, so I don’t just add everyone I know there. I add you because we have a professional relationship not a personal one.

    I have a pinterest account, but don’t pin much. I have a twitter, but don’t tweet, and nothing else.

  15. I had some extended family sending me invites on Linked In. It was odd because they were not working but had listed titles like “novelist”, “ceo of family” etc. They were already my FB friends and I felt they were somehow trying to get access to my professional life just to snoop around.

  16. My FB is almost entirely high school and college friends and some cousins, all that live in other states. There are no work friends on there. I created a Linked In account but don’t maintain it because I so hate doing a resume. I should make myself update that. I prefer to keep up with current friends in person. I do keep my online presence locked to be visible to only people I give permission to see it (to the extent I know how), although I will admit to online snooping someone else’s account that I am not curious enough to actually “friend”.

    I don’t post a whole lot online, and not a lot of info on my family. Maybe an annual birthday pic or a graduation picture, but they are all fairly private and I respect that. i keep my FB account to see what is going on with old friends and to see pics of extended family who I never get to see. (Not to see a pic of anyone’s pot roast or to give anyone the chance to convince me that Obama is, in fact, a Muslim). So I hide people who abuse the ability to post every thought

  17. LinkedIn is for work, so I don’t just add everyone I know there. I add you because we have a professional relationship not a personal one.

    To me, the best use of LinkedIn is networking, so I add personal contacts as well. For example, it comes in handy if I or someone I know is trying to get in at a company, and you can look and see who in your network has a connection there.

  18. DD – I would consider a your example a professional use of LI, not a personal one.

  19. I have no FB presence. DW has a FB account mainly to monitor what DS puts on his page and to see what his friends are up to.

    DW complains that a lot of people are clueless and/or inconsiderate of others’ efforts to limit the amount of personal information easily available via FB. A couple examples:

    -DW does not have any information about her job or professional life on FB. She was surprised one day to see information on her job and place of employment, which she tracked down to a coworker who’d listed her as a coworker, and had to made him take all mention of her down from his page.

    -DS does not have his real birthday on his page, for obvious reasons. The fake birthday is there on his page for his friends to see, but on his real birthday, a lot of them still post happy birthday messages.

    -She doesn’t post any photos of herself or our family, but others we know will post pictures that include us that get tagged.

  20. She was surprised one day to see information on her job and place of employment, which she tracked down to a coworker who’d listed her as a coworker, and had to made him take all mention of her down from his page.

    If you can lock it down so no one can see anything – what is the concern?

  21. “DS does not have his real birthday on his page, for obvious reasons.”

    These reasons are not obvious to me.

  22. I use Facebook A LOT for personal communications, photo-sharing, etc., as well as just keeping up with what’s going on in my communities. LinkedIn is more like a place to keep my resume and contacts up to date, but I should use it more for posting professional stuff. Twitter is something of a combination – I rarely use it, but I follow people/orgs for work-related info as well as community, political, entertainment, etc., and I only tweet if there’s something at a live event or to retweet articles I found interesting. (For example, at my college basketball games this winter, they started putting photos & tweets up on the video board during timeouts, so DD & I tweeted a lot of selfies.) This is the only blog I follow and comment on.

    I just had my 6-month review at work and passed with flying colors (hooray job security!), but I also volunteered to take over the department’s social media presence, which is currently zero except for the existence of some accounts. We are trying to connect more with students, and I think that’s the way to go. Even faculty, which has historically been our audience, are becoming more and more active on social media. One thing I’m tasked with is getting the university president to retweet our tweets because EVERYONE follows him.

  23. Knowing DOB makes it easier to try to steal one’s identity. It’s also one of the questions you might get asked before reps from, e.g., the credit card company will discuss your account.

  24. Finn,

    The only people who can see your DOB are people you’ve friended. Folks who presumably know your DOB or could easily figure it out.

  25. DD – I would consider a your example a professional use of LI, not a personal one.

    It is, but by linking to people I know personally as well as professionally, I have a better chance of finding a connection that can help. If I limited my linked in connections only to professional contacts, it would be a much smaller network. My point is that your social acquaintances can be very helpful professionally and I don’t see why you would limit your network only to people you know professionally.

  26. Thank you for sharing the Sandberg piece, but it took me a while to recover after I read it. The emotion is so raw and her writing is so honest, but I can not imagine sharing something like that on FB. I am active on FB, and I use it to keep in touch with people from all over the place. Childhood, college and camp friends, and work friends. Many of my work friends are now my close real life friends so we’re FB friends too. I have more connections on linked in, but I still know at least 95% of my linked in connections.

    I am on Houzz, Twitter and pinterest. I never post anything, but i use those a lot for research about renovations and now bat mitzvah planning.

  27. Thanks for the reminder, Rhett! I shall have to make one this evening to celebrate. That is, assuming I’m not the parent accompanying child #3 to the 5th grade end-of-year celebration at Dave and Busters with pizza and chicken nugget buffet.

  28. My FB has lots of high school and college friends, and extended family, but I don’t seem to find the time to post much on it and when I do post it’s pretty anodyne stuff. My Twitter I use only to follow people like @LeVostreGC or @FloridaMan. I have a recently created Pinterest just so they’ll stop bugging me to sign up, and I believe I am following some feeds, but have not posted anything myself. I don’t have a LinkedIn — it’s not so much of a public sector thing.

  29. I use LinkedIn pretty extensively (connected with colleagues, friends, and former classmates) and I also do some Facebooking. I rarely share much anymore, but I keep my profile up so that I can see what friends around the country are up to. It’s the main way that more casual friends keep up with each other. These days among my generation it is seen as weird to call or maybe even text anyone other than your very closest friends just to chat.

    I have never heard of a Negroni. Feeling like a bad Millennial.

  30. I gave up on the Red Cross after Hurricane Katrina. Remember, kids, the Mennonite Disaster Service and Mennonite Central Committee are well-run and very efficient. Consider a donation today!

  31. I did an unpaid internship with the Red Cross and have never been so unimpressed with any organization. They will not be getting another penny from me, ever.

  32. CoC – just a thought, we could have a post on specific charities, why we give to X and don’t give to Y, etc. Or just a hijack. ;)

  33. The Sandberg article brings up an interesting sidebar – what do you do with the online presence of someone who has passed? Do you have your partner’s passwords? Do you keep the account active?

    To the lawyers – have people mentioned social media in their estate planning?

  34. Speaking of who you follow on Twitter, I saw an article about this guy who posts the crazy requests he gets from summer residents in the Hamptons. @HamptonsBorn

    Just for example:
    Hamptons Request: Have SUVs w/drivers stationed at W Hampton, S Hampton & E Hampton depending on how far Mrs.M’s Heli can fly in bad weather
    HAMPTONS REQUEST: Go to East Hampton Airport & unload 6 coat racks off Ms.K’s G550 as she refuses to fold & UPS her summer wardrobe from LA

  35. “I don’t have a LinkedIn — it’s not so much of a public sector thing.”

    But you might not always (want to) be public sector. Just by having a moderately complete profile on Linked In, I’ve gotten a lot more interest from real hiring managers than I would have otherwise.

  36. I gave up on the red cross about about 15 years ago after the San Diego wildfires. There was a family that they refused to give assistance to because they had insurance, and then they used a picture of the family on their website to to promote donations.

  37. I’ve been using Pinterest a lot lately as a kind of shopping list. I select items online that fit a category, from clothes to patio furniture to makeup, and then I can later review and decide which to buy, either online or at a store. I’m on my way later to make a quick shopping trip to pick up some stuff I’ve preselected on Pinterest. Based on the response from sales clerks, who have sometimes commandeered my phone to look at my pins, other shoppers seem to do this frequently.

    Oh, I must have a Negroni or two this week to celebrate.

  38. HAMPTONS REQUEST: Go to East Hampton Airport & unload 6 coat racks off Ms.K’s G550 as she refuses to fold & UPS her summer wardrobe from LA

    My in-laws love to travel by stowing the third row of their Sienna into the floor and using all that space to lay out the clothes they want to bring, still on the hangers. I guess that pales in comparison, though.

  39. Milo, I think you would love that twitter feed. Outrageously entitled rich people!

  40. Hijack to Milo: If your kids liked The Mouse and The Motorcycle, they may also like Stuart Little. We just finished a chapter filled with nautical terms where Stuart is sailing on a pond in Central Park. It made me think of you.

  41. My online presence is limited. I have a LinkedIn account but I don’t think I ever finished setting up my profile as it seemed to take forever. Not on FB and I really only look at a few blogs in addition to this one.

    Favorite Negroni recipe for White Negroni: 1.5 oz gin (I like Boodles); 1.5 oz Cocchi Americano; 1 oz Dolin blanco vermouth. Shake over ice and serve up or on the rocks. Delicious. The restaurant where I first had it described it as the perfect morning drink.

  42. SWVA – I like this one. I would have loved this bday party:

    Hamptons Request of Day: Buy 10 electric kid’s dirt bikes & make a 1/2 acre temp dirt track in Hedgie’s back yard for 10th bday party ($23k)

  43. @HamptonsBorn Boss for Sara’s new nanny gig said he can’t commit until he knows if he can helicopter into EH. Otherwise,renting in Nantucket

  44. When should a young adult get a Linked in account? Just thinking of DS who is interning this summer – would you ever set up a profile while still in college? Will it help with future summer jobs and permanent ones?

  45. “would you ever set up a profile while still in college?”

    Yes. It seems to be a basic requirement. Is that just a thing for young people? Probably. Some job applications give an option to use linkedin directly.

  46. … although it probably varies depending upon the field of employment.

  47. ssk – I definitely think your DS should set one up. As his internship progresses he can build up his contacts on Linked In. I’m not sure if his college professors would accept if he invited them to connect and recommend him.
    A job coach suggested putting the Linked In link on my resume as well.

  48. Great, thanks for the advice! He has a good resume that only needs to be updated with this summer’s work (although I’m sure he won’t update it until he needs to!), so I’ll mention to him that he should set up a Linked In profile as well, and hopefully he will put all of this summer’s stuff in while it is all fresh in his mind.

    I have a Facebook account but use it rarely. When DD went to college I “friended her”, and it was really helpful to see her posts with all of her new friends, so I knew who she was talking about when she said she did this or that with this person. Now that she is working she has minimized what she has out there. I don’t post anything, but like to look at what others are up to. When I had a big high school reunion the committee set up a class group, so I am friends with a number of people that way. College friends are also my Facebook friends – some are those who were really just acquaintances during our younger days, but again, it is fun to see what people are up to.

    I use Instagram, and really enjoy it. I follow a mix of friends and designer/decorator type people who post some beautiful posts of travels and rooms.

  49. I have a LinkedIn account with professional contacts. I also link to students when they graduate. I have links with students from many years ago – it is useful because I can use them as speakers and I also like keeping up with them.

    My main criteria for FB friends is “does this person want to see endless photos of my kids?”. A lot of my FB friends are from my mommy mailing list, or are old grad school friends or are neighbors with kids. And family of course – the entire extended family including cousins of all degrees are on my friend list. I have started to put people into groups so I can manage post visibility more carefully.

    I use Twitter as a newsfeed, especially during weather events. I never post on it. 140 char haiku is not my cup of tea.

    And I totally don’t get Pinterest.

  50. Those Hamptons things remind me of a collection of Bay Area police blotter clippings a friend of mine collects. He especially likes the Atherton ones because they’re so precious. E.g., “A pedestrian was reported not to be doing anything strange other than wearing black pants and a white dress shirt while walking at an odd hour.”

    Other Bay Area ones include: “A male was struck on the head with a bottle of hot sauce by a person who didn’t want him to leave.” “A landlord/tenant dispute involving ‘assault with frozen food’ was reported.” “The owner of a large dog who had argued earlier with a neighbor was pounding on an adjoining wall and howling like a dog.” “A person covered with a shower curtain and promoting religion was reported to be creating a distraction for passing drivers.” “A female unable to cross the street because a large amount of Glad Wrap was laying in the roadway and blocking her way called 911.” “A female told police that her husband had been drinking all day and that now she was getting irritated.” “A male walking in the traffic lane told police there were too many raccoons on the sidewalk.” “A person out for a walk reported hearing an elderly woman scream. Police responded and located the source: a boy not happy about what he was getting for breakfast.” “A woman whose finger got stuck in a drain was reported to be conscious and breathing.” “A stranger poked his head through the door, muttered ‘damn’, and left.” “The king of NIcaragua was reported to be standing outside Outback Steakhouse demanding a free meal.” “A loud flute complaint was made, then canceled.” “Two solicitors who said they were with PG&E appeared to be up to no good.”

  51. I am a passive facebook user (I never post) with very robust privacy settings. I get most of my photos via smartphone message now, so not much use for grandchild stuff, but I do keep up with the travels of my three younger children this way. It is linked to a dedicated separate email address. Mostly I use it to keep up with my favorite kitten cams, and also to keep an eye on my birth family.

    LinkedIn is entirely separate and attached to my consulting business email, not my personal email or my online shopping email. If I get a friend request for LinkedIn from personal email, I go into LinkedIn and use the professional email if I want to respond.

  52. ssk,

    Why would you think you wouldn’t set one up? We hired a guy and his internship was at JPL. I saw JPL on his LinkedIn profile and I was like – SOLD!

  53. rhett – I just didn’t know when people started setting them up, if college-age was too soon. It sounds like it isn’t!

  54. I taught a college business class and setting up a linkedin was a requirement, definitely not too soon! I wish I would have had linkedin when I was in college and in internships

  55. I’m everywhere on social media. fb, twitter, linkedin, pinterest, goodreads

    not the newer stuff though instagram, etc.

    I thought the main thing with the birthdate was to not post the year born (for ID theft reasons)

  56. DD – When I mean they don’t overlap – FB and LI – I look at someone’s LI page before I accept. If they are not using it in a professional way, I don’t accept. Example, a woman I know through kids activities has a very sketchy page and even though “teacher” is her job title, it has numerous misspelled words. Another is sort of a spoof page where a SAHP is the CEO of the XYZ family and has lots of job titles like personal chef, transportation planner, etc.

    However, another SAHP, has a LI profile that highlights all the volunteer work and positions as well as prior paid work. She keeps it current because her plan in to reenter the workforce when the kids are a bit bigger. Yep, accepted that one.

    I am more likely to accept a FB friend on LI than and LI contact on FB.

  57. Austin – that is what I do on LI too. In addition, for solely professional contacts, I don’t connect with people unless I have met them in person (or if they are somewhere else, if I have corresponded with them about a client, for example).

  58. I don’t connect with people unless I have met them in person (or if they are somewhere else, if I have corresponded with them about a client, for example).

    You don’t accept requests for recruiters?

  59. Rhett – no. (And actually, I never get requests from recruiters.) At my level I am not a recruiting candidate. I am too senior for all associate jobs and don’t have a big enough book to be a good partner lateral candidate. I suppose I could be a good candidate for in-house jobs but from my friends who work in-house, think those jobs are usually LESS flexible than what I have now.

  60. Rhett –

    I try to keep my LinkedIn page alive – accepting a contact request from time to time, actually responding politely to recruiter requests, mostly to help place friends who might be looking, and to keep up to date on location and contact with international former Big Boston Co colleagues – I still travel and might see them again. However, I have zero intention of ever returning to paid work, so if I fall off the radar, so be it.

  61. Also, don’t forget to do your due diligence when contacted or when contacting people about open positions. In the time I was displaced, I found a job on a job board and contacted people in that company through LinkedIn. I got a job interview and went through two interviews. They were a smaller company and everything seemed fine. I had not heard of them so I was still trying to get in touch with past employees. After a while I got a reply from a guy who said that he had moved on because he did not have the greatest experience with them, they talked a good talk but were essentially fraudsters.

  62. RHODE – sorry, forgot to mention. I am actually working on a presentation about digital assets right now!

    According to the TOS – FB has a “legacy contact”, Google has an “inactive account manager”, Twitter will only delete an account, Instagram has a “memorialized” account. It is a huge PITA. You would have to designate a person for each one of these accounts. Email is an even bigger problem – according to the TOS, if you access another person’s email account, you may be violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (!!!). So some banks named as executors, since they can’t get into the decedent’s email legally, are now hiring forensic accountants to go through a decedent’s computer and see what websites they visited, so they can then contact that bank to get access to the decedent’s account. Boggles the mind, it is so inefficient and costly.

    There is a uniform act re: fiduciary access to digital accounts, but apparently the industry (Google, FB, etc.) is now trying to block its implementation, after cooperating with the drafters. Very odd. The committee posits that it may be that the industry is worried about the CFAA, so until that is fixed/updated, they will oppose the uniform act? Who knows.

    I try to recommend to clients that they have all their online accounts written down somewhere with their passwords, etc., and put language in their documents that they are giving permission to their executors to access those accounts. And then I have to tell them that it may be illegal under federal law to access someone else’s account. Blargh.

  63. L – If you have that person’s power of attorney, is it illegal to access their account?

  64. I think I’ve broken that law at least 2 times this week – I will log into DH’s personal email/FB and he’ll do the same for me if the other is looking for something and cannot access it where we are.

    How does the law identify individual accounts? DH and I share a “junk” email account used only for online purchases. It’s under his name. Does that make the account his even though I have the password and use it regularly?

    Since DS’s birth, I’ve been thinking about wills, digital assets, financial assets, more life insurance, etc. Would anyone else be interested in an “ask the Totebag” about this type of life-planning?

  65. Austin – unclear. It *may* be OK if the power of attorney gives explicit power to the agent and mentions the Stored Communications Act and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, but I don’t believe it’s been litigated yet.

  66. Rhode – so in real life, it is close to 0% probability that the feds would come after you for accessing your DH’s account. I also tell clients this. Kind of like paying sales tax for online purchases in other states, or most speed limit laws, or (sometimes) the drinking age.

    I feel like we had a totebag post on digital assets, but no one cared. ;)

  67. Thanks, Rhode! Are you back at work? How is Baby Rhode? I returned this week and we are figuring out our routines again…including reading the Totebag. ;-)

  68. Austin, I don’t understand why you wouldn’t accept those requests on LI. The upside to accepting them is you expand your network. What’s the down side? That someone might see that you’re linked to them and think less of you for that?

  69. MidA – I’ve been back at work since April 6 – I only got 12 weeks. DH returned to work on May 26th (he got 8 weeks, which he took starting the week before I went back). Baby Rhode is with grandma now. He’s also doing well, getting fat, and creeping ever closer to surgery (and I’m creeping ever closer to a breakdown). How are you doing? How’s your baby?

  70. Glad to hear that Baby Rhode is growing happily–hopefully he and grandma are enjoying their time together! Everything is going pretty well over here, thanks! DD is a sweetie, started daycare this week, and doesn’t seem to hold it against us yet. :)

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