Though hiring managers continue to debate whether or not candidates' social media activity should influence hiring decisions, the practice is still prevalent: According to a CareerBuilder survey, nearly 39% of employers admitted that they use social networking sites to research job candidates. Of those, 43% said that what they found impacted their decision not to hire a candidate.
But even though many of us do our best to lock down privacy settings and censor what we share, there's still a great deal that others can glean from our activity. One startup, ThinkUp, aims to make us more aware of our digital alter egos.
ThinkUp connects to your Facebook and Twitter accounts to analyze your activity and -- for better or for worse -- gives you a broad picture of your social networking habits. Every day, for example, the service emails you observations about your activity and reminds you that what you say and do on Facebook and Twitter can impact you and others.
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The data points that ThinkUp surfaces are broad, from the typical follower and friend count updates to other intricacies of your activity that could indicate how others might view you -- from social media obsessed to self-centered.
For example, ThinkUp tells you how much time you spend posting things online ("At 15 seconds per tweet, that amounts to 1 day, 2 hours, and 10 minutes"); whether you get more responses from men or women; how often you talk about yourself ("17% of your tweets contained the words I, me, my, mine, or myself"); and even how often you say thanks ("You tweeted 11 thank-yous last month").
It'll also show you fluffier insights, such as which of your friends was "your biggest fan" on Facebook last week, based on the person's number of interactions with you. And it will give you a retrospective look at a post from a year ago.
The idea, the company says, is to give you the tools you need to rethink how you spend your time on social media and, hopefully, prevent faux pas like rants and off-the-cuff comments that could damage your reputation, professional or otherwise.
"We built ThinkUp to help you get more meaning from the time you spend on your social networks," the company said. Co-founder Gina Trapani told The New York Times that its ultimate goal is "to create mindfulness and awareness, and also behavioral change."
ThinkUp charges users $5 per month for its insights, but it offers a 14-day free trial. Though it connects only to your Facebook and Twitter accounts right now, the company says it's working on Instagram, YouTube, and Google+ integration, too.
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