Employers who use MySpace and Facebook as hiring tools have been the subject of some debate. Employers have used MySpace to screen potential job candidates. Employers have fired employees for something posted on the employee’s Facebook and MySpace pages. Even the incoming White House administration is requiring applicants to disclose any potentially embarrassing content on social networking sites. Recently, there was some discussion about the use of social networking sites as a way to defend an employer in an employment litigation lawsuit.
And now, there’s talk of yet another purpose for the use of online profiles. In the Fall issue of Litigation News, a quarterly magazine published by the ABA’s Litigation Section, an article entitled Know Thy Judge advocates conducting an internet search on the judge assigned to your case. Specifically, the article suggests that counsel should “Google the judge” before appearing in his or her courtroom, in the hopes of gaining insight on the judge’s personality, habits, or tendencies.
I wouldn’t expect that many judges maintain public Facebook or MySpace pages. But, in twenty years, when the bench is filled with Gen Ys wearing black robes, will their “internet past” play a relevant and important role? It seems inevitable, doesn’t it? Especially in light of the recent report that the number of adults using online networking tools has quadrupled in the past three years.