Out of line online ... Robbie Farah, left; and swimmers Nick D'Arcy and Kenrick Monk.
You might remember when swimming sensations Nick D'Arcy and Kenrick Monk posted a gun-toting photo of themselves on Facebook, or when NRL star Robbie Farah tweeted that Prime Minister Julia Gillard should be given ''a noose'' for her 50th birthday.
Digital faux pas are not easily forgotten in a world where everything is recorded permanently in cyberspace, but not only celebrities are affected. Increasingly, both employers and employees are struggling to come to grips with the fine line between personal and professional identities online.
A study from security company AVG appears to confirm this. It reveals that almost one-third of working Australians aged 18 to 25 are friends with their bosses on Facebook.
''Young people today have a comfort with using social networks that is leading to blurring between their professional and private lives,'' says a security adviser at AVG, Michael McKinnon. Despite this willingness to cosy up to our superiors online, 54 per cent of respondents said they had never manually reviewed content that was posted about them online, and 47 per cent said there were photos of themselves online they wished they could remove.
''In terms of social media networks, there are different networks that have different weaknesses and different strengths,'' McKinnon says. He recommends using Facebook for close friends and family only, and says professional network LinkedIn is better suited to connecting with work colleagues.
A partner at Holman Webb Lawyers who specialises in workplace law, Robin Young, says the key to avoiding trouble is having a good social media policy at work. ''When both parties know what the rules are about the use of social media at work then neither party can cry foul,'' he says.
Despite the popularity of social media - there are more than 1 billion Facebook users worldwide - many companies don't have policies in place. ''People are still losing their jobs for breaking policies that don't even exist yet,'' McKinnon says.
But the problem goes deeper than just socialising with our colleagues online. Thirteen per cent - more than one in eight - of young Australians surveyed had posted abusive content online about their boss or company. This is where simple common sense comes into play.
''Everything you put in a digital context is going to stay around to haunt you,'' says Dr Christine Satchell from the University of Melbourne's Urban Informatics research lab . ''Something terribly bad will be there forever - even if you delete it, someone will screen-grab it.''
Young agrees. ''If an employee is abusing their employer on social media, it looks like a short relationship to me - and to expect anything different is just fanciful.''
Another step users can take to differentiate their personal and professional identities online is to include a disclaimer in their profiles that states the views expressed on that account are personal and not those of their employer.
However, it isn't a blanket excuse for misbehaving online, McKinnon warns. He says advising people to ''think twice before posting'' is often not particularly helpful. ''The only thing we can really rely on is for people's common sense to kick in,'' he says. ''Don't let your friends post things that might affect their own future careers.''
Most experts agree that common sense and good policies are the key, rather than banning social media altogether.
AVG's study found that at workplaces where social media was blocked, 58 per cent of young Australians surveyed were accessing the sites on their smartphones anyway. ''The reality for employers is that they can't block it - it's unblockable,'' McKinnon says.
Sentiment may be changing in the workplace to reflect this, Satchell says. She says social media should be mobilised to increase engagement with work.
''There is a changing attitude in the workforce that acknowledges that we do have a life outside of work, as long as we do our job properly,'' she says. ''You just have to be careful.''
Young agrees. ''Social media has become a big part of our lives. Employers and businesses should be aware of it and do something about it - not try to stop it, just try to manage it.''