Privacy Central to Changing Jobs and Dating

April 26, 2015 by Margaret Townsend
Privacy Central to Changing Jobs and Dating

Like the formal dating scene, especially for those of us changing jobs, in our job search we need privacy and great matches, not social noise.

Seeking Social Media Benefits

Recently a friend has been sending me invites to join a travel based social site, where you can rate locations and share advice and tips with fellow travelers from around the globe as well as receiving general travel information from the site itself.  There are also offers and deals on everything from flights, to hotels to restaurants, to local attractions and club memberships.  As I do a tiny bit of globetrotting I thought it might be of interest and eventually succumbed to my friend’s persistence.

Registration turned out to be kind of satisfying, even if it was a little time consuming….I hadn’t realized how many places I’d been until I was ticking the location pictures as they came up. I uploaded a simple, plain picture of myself (more casual than the one here of just my face and little make-up) and decided I didn’t need to do any more with my profile to get the benefits I wanted from membership.  I thought I would enjoy reading other people’s travel experiences, occasionally chat to one or two other members about airlines, accommodation or local food and maybe even try booking something through the website.

The Feeling of Being Hunted

But then something else happened.  I discovered – as with so many other social media sites – that this website was being used for something other than its intended purpose by a large proportion of its user base. From the moment I registered I began receiving friend requests from men – only men. I have only been a member for a couple of weeks and already have hundreds of friend requests pending from men from various parts of America and all across Europe and beyond.  Many also rate my profile photograph and try other ways to communicate with me.

I am so overwhelmed by the interest from men in my profile that I feel intimidated and I am hesitant to log in to my account.  I feel almost hunted.  I will have to decline most of these invites whenever I am brave enough to re-enter!  In fact I will probably just decline all of them because I don’t have the time to review so many requests in order to figure out if there are any who match what I actually want to use the site for. 

Shelter in Privacy

I also need to review my account setup to see if there is a way to use the site in a more private way…but still get the benefits I want. I may even remove my photograph or see if the site will accept an alternative picture, like a flower or nice scenery.  I feel for anyone on there who, unlike me, has uploaded a glamorous photograph.  I wonder how many ‘friend’ requests they receive in a week! 

Does this sound familiar to you?  It’s not that I wouldn’t like to meet someone or go on a date, it’s just that I don’t want to meet someone there – don’t believe I could meet someone suitable there – and wish to use the site for other purposes which is now difficult for me to do.  This is the social media dilemma we all face on every platform we visit. Most of us are not there to engage heavily with strangers.

Danger in Exposure

Socially connecting online whether for entertainment or egotistical purposes, through sharing your daily activities, photographs, opinions or knowledge and information brings more color to otherwise seemingly dull lives as the stream of media that flows and the type of data people share online is far more detailed and expansive – and therefore engaging – than would be normal in real life. 

But mostly we are all only connecting in order to facilitate this sharing of information and updates or access services, whilst wishing to remain at a comfortable distance from those we are connected to.  Too much exposure can get in the way and may even be dangerous to individuals.

Job Sites like Dating Sites Must Be Fit for Purpose

The real dilemma arises however when privacy is not just a preferred status, but central to the task at hand.  Take job-changers and recruiters on social media platforms as an example, when they try to use these mediums for recruitment and job hunting purposes in addition to social and networking tools, being too ‘public’ and ‘available’ sometimes just gets in the way of what they really want to do.

However there are people who feel they can do things online that they would never do in real life, like reach out to strangers for relationships or employment and they can be too much to bear. In my opinion I am just as likely to meet the love of my life on a travel website as in a nightclub.  Not likely at either location. I hardly ever go to either one and I don’t tend to talk to strangers unless there is some professional mutual interest or other genuine reason bringing us together.

I personally believe that romance comes into your life naturally when you least expect it, at a time you weren’t looking for it, in a place you never even considered and is not really something you can ‘engineer’.  But if I were looking for someone to date I would probably go to a proper dating website, not a professional or social networking site or a travel site.  And I would choose one that was designed to help me and protect me as much as possible.

Career management is definitely something not to be left to chance.  Of course you could also meet your next employer or employee on a social platform just as much as you could meet the love of your life. But again, if I were serious about my career and finding a better job, if I were actually looking for a job change, I would want to use a recruitment website that was designed to help me do this whilst protecting me and my current job until I’ve been offered a new position that I wish to take up. 

I would only want to see jobs that actually matched what I wanted and would also wish to choose the employers to engage with, without my current employer or manager being aware of my actions until I was ready to state my position.  Like the formal dating scene, in our job search we need discretion, low maintenance and great matches.

Keeping It Real on Social

Alternatively, on social media, I want to learn, absorb, investigate, research, view, comment, share, avail, select and maybe even purchase.  I don’t however wish to be hunted down by anybody, whether for dates or jobs or to have my identity stolen by thieves.

Therefore I’ve decided to be very unsocial on my new travel platform, keep it real and decline all ‘friend’ requests, sacrificing the possibility of great personal advice from a few other genuine globe-trotting comrades for the other benefits the website offers, such as deals and general travel information.  It seems you can’t have it all on social media, but as the song goes, two out of three ain’t bad.

About the Author

Margaret Townsend
An experienced recruiter and job seeker, now co-founder of a private job search website. Blogs are full of practical tips and advice on career development, work-life balance, the job search and the job interview. Also writes in-depth unique articles about workplace issues such as gender diversity, HR practices, culture fit, employee engagement and gainful employment.

1 Comment

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