I like to think of myself as a classy lady. I say "please" and "thank you", I never show up to a party empty handed, and despite a penchant for shopping at Forever 21 (shut up. Everything people like about my outfits is from there), I usually dress age-appropriately. But what of the internet me?
My mom (I know you are reading this, hi Mom!) recently reminded me that prospective employers would likely seek out absolutely everything they could about me via the magic of the internet. Is this something that I should be worried about? I'm not really sure. There is, of course, my facebook page, which is set to the highest privacy settings, but like my mom so wisely pointed out, you never know when one of your facebook friends will betray you and your privacy settings. If that happens, what would they see? First, there's a video of me excelling at Wii Fit Hula Hoop. I reached the Calorie Torcher level (have since graduated to Calorie Incinerator, FYI), and I'm fully dressed, so it's all fine, right?
Then there is the matter of the many pictures of me with a drink in my hand, probably the main concern for my mom. Is it bad for your future employers to know you have a social life, or that you enjoy a cocktail now and then? The reality is that there are two things that are highly likely to occur at parties, and those two things are drinking and picture taking. It could even be argued that the more the former occurs, the more the latter does, too, and thus we've all got a million facebook pictures of us drinking. We do, right? Or is it just me? Say it's not just me.
If you google me, everything but maybe 2 links is science-related, which I feel is a very good rate. I was once quoted (using my real name) by the New York Times in a piece about a non-sciency website with which I've been fairly active, and while the article doesn't directly link to my posts on that site, most people could probably figure it out. My mom's primary worry with that one is my occasional use of profanity (and apparent fondness for fancy cocktails), but as far as I can tell, there are plenty of successful scientists with potty mouths out there.
So the big question is, how much housecleaning do I need to do, here? Do I need to make my internet presence spic-and-span? Should my social life even be considered in evaluations of my professional potential? I'd like to think that it shouldn't be--and if it is, I'd like to remind certain tenured professors about certain stories you've told me regarding you and certain other tenured professors on a certain night in Prague....
The Plight of the Post-Doc