Nowadays, when you are applying for something – a job, a scholarship, or a spot at a university – you are aware that the board making the decision might google your name in order to learn more about you. When they do this, many boards or employers will find your social media profiles and use the information on them to learn more about you and how you act in your personal life. This is why you see the trend of people “hiding” their social media profiles by using false names or a variation of their names that won’t easily come up on a google search of their names.
If you are applying for a pardon, you might be wondering if the same rules apply for your pardon application. Will the Board of Pardons search for you online? Will they take the time to go through your social media accounts? How will what they see impact their decision in granting or denying you a pardon?
The truth of the matter is that the Board of Pardons could check your social media accounts. While the Board most likely won’t put a considerable amount of weight on these accounts, if they see something that does not align with what you say in your application, or if you say something specific regarding your pardon application, they can use this against you. Here are a few tips that you can use to make sure that social media does not negatively impact your pardon application.
1. Google Your Name
If you want to see what the Board of Pardons will see when they search your name, do a google search on yourself. See which social media profiles come up. See what articles or photos come up. Knowing what you are up against can help you address the situation if the Board does search your name.
2. Make Your Social Media Accounts Private
If you don’t want to worry about the Board of Pardons looking at your social media profiles, change the settings to make your accounts private.
3. Be Aware Of What You Post
If you don’t want to make your social media accounts private, or you can’t figure out how to make everything completely private, just be aware of what you are posting online. You should always think before you upload photos or post statuses because they become public records of your opinions. You don’t want to say something that could be misinterpreted or taken too seriously. Before posting a crude joke or venting about something, consider what would happen if the Board of Pardons saw this. They would likely have a negative impression of you if you post crude or violent things on your social media accounts.
4. Don’t Post About Your Pardon
It is a good idea to avoid the topic of your pardon when you are posting things online. If your pardon hearing goes poorly, don’t get online and start cursing out the Board or saying negative things about the pardon process. If the Board of Pardons sees this, it could negatively impact your chances of getting a pardon.
These are a few basic tips for handling your social media accounts during your pardon application process. If you have further questions about social media and pardons, you can contact my office.