I wanted to research a subject that is relatively new and pertinent to our demographic. Because many of us are either employed or looking for employment, I thought that the topic of online background checks would be an interesting one to look into. In my personal experience in applying for an internship for this summer, I was constantly being warned to be wary of what material I had online. Specifically, I was cautioned about the content on my Facebook and/or MySpace pages.
Being an avid Facebook user, I was not willing to end my existence on the site. So, I looked into to censoring "sensitive" material that may be frowned upon by an employer. The rule that many recommended was "If you don't want grandma to see it, don't post it." I, however, have a pretty wild grandma. This being the case, I decided to look into censorship based on the advice "If you wouldn't want it on the cover of the New York Times, don't put it on your profile." That thought definitely put things into a whole new perspective. But I came to realize that I pretty much would have to cut ties with the majority of my profile. The removing of pictures, leaving of groups, and deleting of content was more than I could bear. I did not want to change this representation that I had created for some employer. So, i left my profile unchanged and still managed to get a job.
In my research, I wanted to look into the ethics of doing such searches and find out how much companies actually screen job applicants using sites such as Facebook and MySpace. I learned that the idea of Internet backgrounds checks on personal profiles is a newer phenomenon, one that is increasingly frustrating college students like myself. While employers are entitled to do such exploration online, it is still a tricky topic that can lead to legal entanglements.
My finished website: http://itrs.scu.edu/faculty/mbousquet/spring07/english138/adaley_spr07/