It amazes me that fairly intelligent people manage to do really stupid things, sometimes on a consistent basis. One of these things is being sloppy about one’s online identity or, more specifically, publicly participating in any conversation that might ruffle management’s feathers. What on Earth could I be talking about?
Let’s take a look at the popular public accounting video series by YouTube user witn3ssthefitn3ss – or more specifically, witn3ssthefitn3ss’s 266 subscribers. Among them, several users who have (oh-so-creatively) used their first and last names as user names. Now there probably isn’t anything in your company manual that specifically states you are not allowed to subscribe to YouTube videos that paint the profession in a less than flattering light and let’s face it, odds that HR even knows how to find YouTube are slim to none but regardless, it’s bad Internet behavior and I’ve got to call these kids out for it.
For example, Michael V Staub (YouTube user michaelvstaub, how convenient!) appears to be working for PwC in Chicago. See how easy it is for any idiot to track your activity on the Internets, kids? I just did it and it took me all of two minutes.
Now Mike is more than welcome to subscribe to any YouTube channel he wants to but in an uncertain job market, it might be a better strategy to C.Y.A. (Cover Your Ass) and have the Internet wherewithall to come up with a better user name than, oh, your entire name. Especially if you’re going to be liking videos that make management look like slave-driving taskmasters.
There are more, like Joseph Bailey, an E&Y manager in Florida. Again, maaaaybe there is some other Joseph R. Bailey subscribing to these videos under his real name but we just don’t see it being that much of a coincidence.
The point is, your social identity is as much a commodity as your education and professional experience. Don’t carelessly throw it out there where anyone can track your likes and dislikes. Take the time to separate your personal and professional lives or you can pretty much guarantee a whole bunch of hassle later on down the road. Sure, it was only an accounting video this time but what if management takes it personally and thinks you only liked it because one of them had the audacity to ask you for a McDonald’s Diet Coke?
Watch what you do out there, kids, the entire world is watching. There are billions of usernames you can come up with, don’t make the mistake of using your own first and last unless you are an Internet marketer or sticking strictly to completely safe-for-work material.
Update: Details about licensure have been removed as we have confirmed Illinois’ tricky licensing requirements and our poster in question is, in fact, fully licensed.