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The Pitfalls of a Strong Online Presence

“Do you know who I am?” is now probably a phrase the now infamous Ronnie Pickering wishes he’d never uttered. I suspect that Ronnie Pickering now has a desire that no one outside of his usual circle of friends actually does know who he is.

The story hit the headlines recently. Ronnie Pickering had a road side altercation with another motorist. Without wanting to get into the detail of who was to blame (and to be fair to Ronnie he has admitted that he was perhaps in the wrong, as shown in the link below), the other motorist, a moped rider, filmed the whole episode and subsequently posted this online.

The incident was heavily reported in the Daily Mail (the link is here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3251966/I-m-Ronnie-Pickering-Driver-embarrasses-angry-know-road-rage-rant-moped-rider.html) and Ronnie Pickering actually found himself, somewhat inadvertently, trending on Twitter. Ironically, everyone now knows who Ronnie Pickering is.

I’ll be the first to admit that I laughed at the article but what struck me were the updates as the story unfolded. The paper provided us with a picture of the front of Ronnie’s house with the strap line “The 51 year old has a small white plastic Scotty dog next to his front door and a pile of rolled up cigarette ends in plant pots, suggesting he likes both ornamental canines and smoking”. Whilst not the wittiest of synopses (I’m more of a Private Eye man myself) it made me think that when someone’s looking into the detail of your online presence a variety of conclusions can be drawn, often with negative connotations.

Much has been written about the dangers of your digital footprint, particularly in relation to the recruitment process and the perception of your “outside of work” lifestyle to prospective employers, but this is a chap that in this instance hasn’t posted pictures on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. He was recorded by a third party, arguably in a moment of madness and acting completely out of character, yet the evidence of this event will remain long into the future and no doubt have a variety of implications.

Whilst digital footprints can be invaluable to the counter fraud industry, they can also present unforeseen issues to those who least expect it. I’ve heard of one candidate who was asked to change his Linked In picture just prior to him joining a new firm as it showed him with alcohol. The picture wasn’t of a stereotypical lads holiday in Benidorm with there being 12 pints of lager lined up on the bar in front of him as “a challenge” (since becoming a parent I’d give anything for such an opportunity). He was pictured in a tuxedo, with an equally well dressed female companion, holding a flute of champagne at what transpired to be a wedding in a very upmarket and sophisticated setting. If this image can cause minor consternation then, whilst totally subjective, it does highlight the lengths employers will go to ensure that those associated with the firm project the right image.

Ronnie Pickering’s digital footprint is now more indelible than most peoples so the next time you’re dabbling in any type of social media it’s probably best asking not “do you know who I am?” but rather, “do I really want the whole world to know who I am for the wrong reasons?”

I specialise in dealing with personal injury and insurance law recruitment in and around Yorkshire and as Ronnie Pickering is from Hull I’ll refrain from mentioning the incident further (especially as he looks like he’s bigger than me), but if you want to discuss career opportunities within the personal injury sector feel free to contact BCL Legal on 0113 323 4906, hopefully with an unblemished social media history.

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