If Anthony Weiner's sordid debacle taught us anything, it's that your social networking can have serious consequences on your real life. It's not hard to think of friends who have revealed a bit too much on Facebook. Speaking from experience, we can also say that we've had potential employers look at our Facebook profile, and we've looked at the Facebook profiles of potential employees.
Palo Alto-based startup Reppler is out to help you prevent some of those faux pas by scanning your Facebook page for potential embarrassments and helping you fix 'em up before they cost you. What you find when the service looks at your profile may surprise you.
"We all have some kind of digital presence," says founder Vlad Gorelik. "With social networks, it's trivial to find someone and get some level of information about them. That digital presence has an impact outside of your immediate circle of friends. It can impact your job search or your career."
We ran a quick scan of Reppler on our own Facebook profile. We thought we'd done a pretty good job of keeping it spick-and-span, but Reppler still tagged a few things that caught our eye.
First off, we had a few wall posts that Reppler tagged as being "Alcohol Related" or containing "Strong Language." Not entirely surprising, but still something to keep an eye on. (Sorry, grandma!)
More intriguing was that Reppler, quite rightly, pointed out that we displayed our hometown and high school on our public page. This type of info, of course, is often used by our banks to confirm our identities.
Reppler also provides broader information, such as whether your language is overall positive or negative, what time of day you tend to use the service, and what your most recent public image uploads contain.
The rise of sites like Reppler speaks to the ever-present concern for people who choose to put parts of their lives online. As Facebook (and, to a lesser degree, Twitter) becomes a popular way to authenticate ourselves online, it becomes less like a personal scrapbook for friends and more like a résumé.
"It doesn't matter what job you are applying for," says Gorelik. "Behind a cash register or behind a keyboard, you have a presence and a reputation."
Sure, sites like Reppler may not prevent you from mistakenly DMing someone a picture of your junk à la Anthony Weiner -- it's still your responsibility to keep pictures of your private parts, well, private -- but at least it may stop your next boss seeing just how poorly suited for an office environment you are. Let him or her find that out after you start the job.