Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Virtual Personality and Professional Boundaries

We live in the age that takes virtual existence very seriously. Virtual existence has become an inseparable part as much for any business as for an individual. We want people to know, notice and like the fact that we eat at particular place, meet certain people or travel abroad. We want our life to be tagged, liked, commented upon and shared. Our popularity depends on the traffic gathered by our web page visits. Our ego gets a boost with the number of likes for our professional and personal milestones. Our check-ins are the direct indicators of our social lifestyles that hint at our professional success.
Basically we want our virtual personality to be impressive.

But what about virtual intelligence? Are we being virtually intelligent? It is about time we start thinking hard about what we write, like and dislike online! With little privacy left in the virtual world, your internet identity is a guide to your individual dignity. And more often than not, people will take you for your online image. This includes not just your friends and family but your teachers, colleagues, employees and former employers. 

Missing the point?

All shall agree that it is easier to look on the internet for maps, books, movies, shops, sale, weather forecasts, hospitals, hotels and prospective employees too. And reviews by strangers seem so helpful and reliable. With this logic, employers have begun to dig up information about their employees, current and prospective through social media. It is a different debate altogether on whether the employers should trace their employees’ virtual existence? However, there has been a general trend to do so and employers find it easier to authenticate the claims of your resume. Research studies indicate that social media like Linkedin is often referred to for hiring talent and to gain professional publicity. While such professional network gives indication of your work background and reliability, other personal media networks are often traced to see if you are the right fit for cultural/social background that a particular office set up demands.

Besides, such checks allow employers to conduct a reasonable surveillance to ensure that an employee is not causing any harm to the employers’ reputation. Remember, your work agreement bounds you not to reveal professional information of various categories in public? Recently, a well recognised educational institute in Mumbai fired its teaching staff owing to the ranting comments on social media about the professional life.

How one chooses to handle their social media is a completely personal choice. But we caution you to be virtually wise. Write blogs/posts that are creative, information, analytical. Use virtual media intelligently because there is a chance your unethical comment on inane issues may cost you your job.