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Tanner Aulie almost lost his internship from an inappropriate tweet. Your future boss might see your Facebook or Twitter page

Tanner Aulie, a University of Regina School of Journalism student knows all too well the negative effects that social media can have on your future.


Aulie, being the funny and creative guy that he is, wanted to share his wit with the world. But he never thought his future internship supervisor would ever see what he posts on Facebook and Twitter, let alone that it would affect his chance of getting the internship.


“It definitely should have looking back,” he said, remembering the advice throughout high school about being careful of what you post on social media. “I just never took the warning to heart.”


Aulie described the emotions that he felt when the things he posted to Twitter and Facebook were read back to him. “I felt like a piece of steaming garbage,” he said. “There’s something super degrading about an adult reading a tweet you thought was funny and saying it with a super straight face.”


David Gerhard, an associate professor in the department of computer science at the University of Regina, explained a key detail about the Internet that some may forget: it’s inherently public. “When you put something online it’s out there forever,” he said.


It’s not that uncommon these days to hear of employers browsing through future employee’s social media pages like Facebook and Twitter, as Tanner has learned. But “whether or not they should be doing that is a good question,” Gerhard said.


Gabriela Camalari, a University of Regina education student, said she realizes that in her field, future employers are bound to look at what she does on social media. Her instructors drive home the message to always be careful.


“It comes with the image,” she said. “You want to be cautious about what you put online and not post things that could possibly get you in trouble.”


Christos Lygouriatis, a talent management consultant with Man Power in Regina uses online sites like LinkedIn when looking for potential job candidates. Lygouriatis said he looks for “passion, character, education and experience,” but said social media activity will also be taken into consideration.


“There are some concerns about the way (job hunters) are being presented on social media and the way they are promoting their profiles on social media,” he said. “It defines who we are.”


With all these different sites though, social media allows people to create different personas. “Before social media, people used to live double and triple lives all the time,” Gerhard said. But unlike before, these different lives are more public. “Everybody’s lives are exposed in a way they weren’t before,” he said.


He also noted that few people are aware of potential effects of social media, and that many people share private information and have open profiles that could potentially affect their future career searches, especially young people who live in a world of social media.


What does this mean for those who go into fields like journalism, where social media and being in the public is a part of the job criteria?


Gerhard compares Twitter for journalists to a carpenter’s drill. “If you have a really good power drill that’s all you use it for, that’s exactly the same for social soon as it starts to become a tool, you need to maintain it as a tool.”


“Learn from my example,” Aulie said when asked to give some advice. “It’s all a popularity thing. The chance of you becoming popular, there’s a way better chance of someone important seeing it and closing some doors.”

 We asked you about employers creeping social media