Why Not Having a Facebook Account Can Hurt You

Thanks to the Internet we are more connected than ever. A simple Google search can lead to rekindling long lost friendships and a quick browse on Facebook can keep you current on all your friends' and family's goings on without ever picking up the phone or having face time. (Whether or not that's a good thing is another question.) But there's more to social media than passive communication and extending our social circles: the instant background check.

Nowadays, people's online profiles and name mentions, be they via Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter, reassure potential roommates, landlords, Craigslist sellers, and even new love interests that you are who you say you are. They also create the perception that because you are traceable, you are relatively trustworthy.

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Conversely, people whose names garner no results in a Google, Facebook, or LinkedIn search might garner suspicion, especially when the person is being considered as a roommate, high-price cash sale, or colleague. We experienced as much when one of our editors considered renting a room for a short term to a grad student who had no online visibility. It was impossible for her not to wonder if he had something to hide.

What we're finding is like it or not, being private these days comes at a cost. But we're wondering: Do you feel the same way?

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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.