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Social media cleansing: Is getting rid of party pics 'boring' or necessary?

Published: Thursday, June 26 2014 7:00 a.m. MDT

Updated: Thursday, June 26 2014 12:09 p.m. MDT

Social media, though necessary in today's world, can be a hindrance for those who are looking for jobs. Is a network cleansing needed?

courtesy Jason Howell via Flickr

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Does a lack of partying photos on a Facebook profile denote a boring life?

That's what one Daily Dot article hinted at Tuesday in response to the success of a new service called Social Sweepster, marketed to recent grads as a way of cleaning up unsavory activities published on social media (if users can't do it themselves, that is).

Social Sweepster is designed to ferret out photos of a user holding the tell-tale red party cup, as well as other things that could affect job prospects.

Employers should get over it, writer Brendan O'Connor argued.

"The trouble with something like Social Sweepster is that it flattens everyone and everything through fear that if you are anything other than bland, you won’t get a job," O'Connor wrote. "The Internet is awful enough without making it boring. And what’s more is that even perpetually square institutions like the FBI have at least acknowledged that social norms are shifting and that hiring practices need to shift with them."

An interesting idea, but with jobs harder to come by for recent grads, plenty of young workers are willing to delete a photo or two to give themselves an edge in the job market.

Forbes and the New York Times both explored the idea of social media cleansing at the cost of a page's "personality," but ultimately came to different conclusions about best practices.

"The argument has recently been advanced that oversharing has become the cultural norm, and businesses can no longer afford to screen out employees whose Facebook profiles are pasted with pictures of collegiate revelry because everyone does it," the Times' Michael Roston wrote.

Forbes suggested that any post to social media sites should reflect a "personal best of the web."

"Think about a TV or radio show host,” career expert Joshuan Waldman told Forbes. “These details are important because they make themselves seem accessible to listeners but they’re definitely not deep secrets or potentially embarrassing.”

Bustle writer Stephanie Hayes says students should take responsibility for their photos and actions before handing profiles to companies like Social Sweepster.

"I personally don’t plan on taking professional tips from a company whose website team includes Tom 'the business' McGrath, Tod 'Optimus Prime' Curtis, and Ken 'It’s pronounced Schwarzenegger' Schweikert … and whose website features photos of the staff’s faces superimposed onto cartoon bodies," Hayes quipped. "Cute, but no thanks."

Email: chjohnson@deseretnews.com

Twitter: ChandraMJohnson

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