Thursday, March 22, 2012

Passwords are Private

On my way in this morning the local radio station threw out a question for people to call in and weigh in on.  They were wondering what people's thoughts on prospective employers requesting your Facebook password to check out your Facebook profile to determine the quality of your character.  People had a variety of opinions and thoughts on the matter that ranged from invasion of privacy to if you have nothing to hide than what's the big deal to maybe it's a test.  My thoughts on the subject follow.

I teach my students to never never never ever give out theory password.  Passwords are private and for their protection.  As an adult I follow that someone guideline. Once you give someone your password they are able to access your account and then do things that one can do when managing an account.  They can post, good bad or indifferent, from your account as you.  They could change the email and or password on you.  They can delete and or add items like pictures and videos to your account.  Thus disallowing you to control your own digital identity.

A question that I had, that I didn't hear come up while I was listening, "Why would they even need your password to view your Facebook page?"  I have a Facebook account and as long as I'm logged in I can search and view someone else's page and posts.  Wouldn't a prospective employer get an idea of your character based on having their own Facebook account and then searching you?  After that wouldn't viewing you posts, pics, and vids, as well as your likes and etc. give them an idea about you?  This really makes me think that if a prospective employer doesn't realize this, then maybe you shouldn't be working for someone who doesn't have a grasp on 21st century tools. 

Here's another thought on the subject.  You can never judge a book by it's cover.  What if someone does go to your Facebook page (with or without your password) and they see a myriad of posts related to you drinking and/or doing obscene things. You could be a hardcore partier, but give 150% at work.  You could also post cat videos all of the time, but then be a bear to work with.  Maybe you post a lot of things related to your religion, but aren't the type of person to mingle your religion with work.  Is this truly an honest representation of your work ethic?  And if someone judges you by this, do you really want to work for them?  Someone, who can't be bothered to take the time to get to know you yourself.

I don't know.  I am of the belief that we should be thoughtful of what we post online, but also we need to question those in authority when we don't agree with or understand their decisions.  In the meantime, I will continue to teach my students to keep their passwords private.  Here are 2 videos that I've created and used with them in the past to generate conversation about the topic.  Use them as you like ☺.