Or your Twitter feed. Or your blog. Or anywhere else that embarrassing information might be found and cost you a job.
In recent days, the Web's been abuzz with yet another case of someone likely losing a job (or at least a job offer) because of poor judgment online. Specifically, a woman wrote on Twitter that she had accepted a job at Cisco but likely would end up "hating the work." You can read the whole story here and even check out the writer's response on her blog.
Cases like this, which are rare and usually overblown, have created a culture of fear among America's young professionals. And I personally think we all face a far greater threat from this chilling effect than from a few salacious Facebook wall posts or poorly planned Twitter missives.
Social media is exploding in popularity all around us, which should be a wonderful thing. But instead, this influx of coworkers, parents, clients and teachers has made people paranoid about being themselves.
Yes, yes, of course young people should be careful with the information they share online -- as much for security reasons as for job protection. But they should also be free to express themselves without constant fear of reprisal by puritanical rubberneckers.
I'm as guilty as anyone. I find myself being afraid to use even PG-13 language for fear of offending a paying client or Web-savvy grandparent.
But repeat after me: "We're all adults here."
Adults use salty language. Adults have political opinions. Adults drink alcoholic beverages.
We can do our best to avoid this stuff hitting the Web in places that overlap with our professional lives, but we can't stop it.
I used to have a theory that we'd all be saved by "mutually assured destruction" — ie, let he among us without sin throw the first drunken Flickr party pics.
These days, I worry we're far more likely to hide behind the protection of "mutually assured dullness." At that point, we can probably save ourselves some irony by no longer calling it social media.