With the ever-popular social media websites like Facebook, users can post pictures of their exciting weekend, keep a close network of friends and acquaintances and tell the world exactly how they feel about everyone and everything. But some experts are saying that misusing the services may be costly.
Namely, Andy Beal, CEO of the social-media monitoring platform Trackur.com, says that sites like Facebook and Twitter could ultimately cost people their jobs.
The analyst told MSN Money that job seekers should generally assume that their desired workplace will perform an online search of applicants' names, giving them access to their weekend photos, college nicknames, thoughts on rainy weather or any other information they choose to post.
"We've seen a lot of cases of people publishing status updates that have gotten them in trouble," said Justin Smith, the founder and editor of the marketing company Inside Facebook.
He added, "People have said things that have caused problems with their boss because of what they said about their work or because they've shared some other kind of private information about work online."
In a well-publicized case, Kansas City Chiefs runningback Larry Johnson tweeted some contentious remarks about his coach and homosexuals, according to Mashable.com, which some believe may have cost him his spot on the team and about $213,000 in salary.
Beal, the Facebook monitor, recommends avoiding any negative mentions about a current or exiting employer, including seemingly innocuous messages about the hassles of "the daily commute" or long workday, says MSN Money.
Notably, MSN reported that social media websites have also become a tool for collection agencies to identify and locate debtors, allowing the companies to monitor an individual's online presence.
The lesson to job applicants and defaulters alike is to use common sense when posting personal information, because getting a job and paying off debt can be hard enough without self-defeating practices.