In college, I took a class on "preparing for the real world." This included information on resumes, portfolios, selecting insurance and a retirement plan, etc. One piece of advice that was constantly reiterated is to be careful what you post on social media because your future employees will check your accounts during the job application process. This advice primarily applied to hiding photos from the weekend.
Once you land a job, the same advice can still apply. What you post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. can negatively affect your employment. Cases like the woman who was fired because of an offensive tweet while flying to South Africa, or more recently the GOP aide who is resigning due to a Facebook post criticizing President Obama's daughters.
Both of these examples are from public relations or communications professionals and I have a hard time believing that they would advise a client or their company to make the same remarks. When working on someone else's communication strategy you tend to either overanalyze everything you say in your personal communication and are hypersensitive to how comments will be received by those around you, or you become too tired thinking three moves ahead and you let your guard down.
Although there is debate as to whether blanket bans on negative social media comments about workplace conditions being unconstitutional, it is a good rule of thumb to keep complaints about your boss, your company and your coworkers off of social media and to find a different means of addressing your concerns. Also refrain from posts about drug use (you would think this would be a given), poking fun at tragedies and racial slurs.
Once it's on the Internet there is no taking it back. Use the same diligence keeping your social media profiles clean during your job hunt long after you have landed your job.
Do you know of anyone who was fired due to something they posted on social media? Have any tips for thinking before you post?