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December 14, 2007

Have risque info or photos online? It could cost you

ONEONTA _ A moment of indiscretion captured by a camera lens can send a job seeker's resume to the bottom of a garbage can, a group of State University College at Oneonta students warned Thursday.

What may be worse, photos or comments posted on social networking websites such as MySpace or Facebook can result in a person getting fired, said Stacey Elderbroom, co-creator of the Protect Your Privates campaign.

The campaign to highlight the negative consequences of online posting, which will be fully launched in spring, includes several advertisements created by Elderbroom and fellow seniors Erikka Olszewski, Kara Guadagno and James Elio. The students are seniors majoring in communications.

"It's an awareness campaign," Guadagno said.

Employers have become very savvy to the wealth of personal information that is just a click away on the Internet, she said.

"The first thing they do is search your name on the Internet," Guadagno said.

A survey of 100 students done in conjunction with the project showed 96 had a Facebook account and 64 had a MySpace account.

Seventy-eight said they have never read the privacy policies of the companies, and 70 said they had made Internet posts they would not want their grandmother, potential employer or significant other to see, according to the survey.

The initiative grew out of a project in the students' Creating Persuasive Campaigns class this fall. The students are working with college administrators to bring the project to the entire college and the general public by using local and college media.

"We'd like to have different target audiences," Olszewski said.

The campaign has several advertisements and public-service announcements, some of which use sexual innuendo to appeal specifically to college students. It includes posters and radio and television spots, including a commercial and poster featuring SUCO President Alan Donovan.

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