Can our social media past come back to haunt us?A recent post on Mashable.com outlines the details of a court case in California where Home Depot was being sued by a former employee who was alleging discrimination as the cause of her termination.

Home Depot requested access to all photos, status updates or other social media posts from the former employee over the last 7 years. This was requested under the premise of trying to gain insights on the plaintiff.

Long story short, the Judge ruled that request to be extremely broad but did allow Home Depot access to any social media posts made by the plaintiff that were either to a coworker or had to do with her employment at Home Depot in any way.

So we’ve all heard stories about job candidates getting their facebook profiles looked over by potential employers, but this is now a whole new use for social media in a very real sense. Now more than ever it would seem that our words written online can come back to haunt us.

Facebook Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

I think it’s about time we start making a stronger effort to censor ourselves on our social media reputation. Even things we might have done years ago can apparently still be brought back into play if the situation is serious enough.

We see in that court case that they were granted access to social media posts dating back 7 years. Is there anything on your social media accounts over the last SEVEN years of your life that you wouldn’t want an employer or a judge to find?

Chances are there might be. And if there is, it might be time to conduct a content audit and start presenting ourselves in the best light possible.

Specifically there really isn’t any appropriate place online to post hateful comments about a job, a boss, a coworker, a friend, or any other human being for that matter. An employer or judge seeing that doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in your ability to handle stressful situations.

Other Unexpected Uses For Social Media

We know that social media can be used to screen potential employees and apparently as evidence in a court case as well. Those are just a drop in the ocean of who else might be looking at your profiles and posts.

Our next crop of leaders will be a generation that grew up with facebook and social media.As the “facebook” generation gets older and starts raising families of their own, how far back will their timelines go? Could their kids potentially dive into their parents past and find some embarrassing information long since forgotten?

What if, years from now, someone who grew up with facebook recording their every social move decides to run for President? Don’t you think their competition will scour their social media past and try to find anything at all that casts them in a less than favorable light?

Now that might seem a little unrealistic, but not altogether unreasonable. What other uses do you think the world will have for information found on social media accounts? Will its role as evidence in court expand going forward or will it eventually be deemed as completely private?

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Rob Hughes
Rob Hughes is a Paid Search Analyst at Big Leap who enjoys the creative aspect of online paid advertising. In his free time, Rob is a 3x Intramural Champion, a 17x Intramural Loser, and an avid climber of local mountains.