The Cost of (Personal) Social Media Accounts

New year, New articles to curate, New stories which just cause me to shake my head. One such story which has been making the rounds starts in (not-so) Merry England where “A human resources executive was forced from his job because his employer found his resume online and that he would consider career opportunities”. The site (Linked In) is home to pretty much all professional resumes in circulation. In fact, it is probably one of the first site one applies their profile to when establishing an online profile; next to the other two sides of Social Media- Facebook and Twitter.

When one establishes their Linked In profile; and this is a sticking point for me when looking for connections to add to my network which will provide mutual benefit, I find one of two results-> The profile is full of easy to read information and is complete; or there is no information and I am forced to move on, not wishing to connect with a ghost…back to the story…

The fact that probably a good 90% of the working population has some representation on Linked In, Including the majority of this individuals (former) company leads one to wonder why a competent employee would be let go for a minor (read: fixable) transgression. Was it ever brought to his attention how the company wished him to be represented on the network? Was there a written form or list of expectations of how his accounts would be handled? (personal vs. professional); and if not-> Where was the problem?

Upon starting any new position, there is usually a lot of paperwork to be done and regulations to be read and initialed that imply you understand the company structure and you will be the dutiful employee, you will tow the company line, and shout the company mantra long and loud, even after the two of you have parted company. Soon (if some companies haven’t already) there will be forms to tell you how you will be professionally marketed so you fall into the company image.

This I have no problem with, where my issue comes forward is that, at the end of the day, I am ME; Meaning that unless the company is paying for my service 24/7, I am going to have some say in my image (professional and personal). If this company truly had a problem with which boxes were and were not checked off on a Linked In profile, possibly a better (read:quieter) way to handle it would be in the form of a company meeting or memorandum explaining which boxes were okay. Personally, If I am holding a strong position (or even if I wasn’t), the last implication I would leave is that I am currently looking to move on. (read: error made by individual). The boxes are all listed at the bottom, and I’m sure the company will give some leeway on how a profile is written to compliment both the person and the company.

For something to truly be monitored and enforced it has to be on everyone, not just certain people, and certainly not in such a way that the aroma of ‘single-out and replace’ lingers in the air.

New Year, New world, new set of standards are being established. I still believe strongly that my social image is something I OWN. Slavery ended a long time ago; and ‘The Man’ just has to set a bar of understanding for all. I am a sub-contracted employee to any company providing me with the means to make a living. When that agreement has been breached by either party, then change is expected; otherwise work it out and business as usual, because what is expected of one should be expected of all.

Next time: The other fireball burning up braincells: WHO owns my Social Identity? I’ll give you a hint, and validate my point.

Time to look at my Linked In profile; update it for 2012 and then tune up the cowbell.

Something To Think About.....

Sourcers’ Apprentice/ The Daniel J. Smith

Views: 782

Comment by Jennifer Olsen on January 5, 2012 at 5:04pm

This situation definitely highlights the need for a written social media policy. The policy needs to be in line with the company’s culture and are best when they are permissive and offer guidance. My colleague Nancy Kick wrote a blog recently titled, “Social Media in the Workplace: Do you have a Facebook Policy” ( that offers more thoughts and suggestions on social media policies for employers.

Comment by Shashank Shekhar on January 5, 2012 at 7:30pm

Nice article and precisely uncovers one of my pet peeves with Linked In and how it must be used to be seen as available by recruiters. There is way too much that one has to reveal about oneself so the recruiters and the hiring managers can "search" one's profile on Linked In. The same reason why the endorsements on Linked In have to be public. There is a better way to recruit and be recruited.

Comment by Daniel J Smith on January 5, 2012 at 7:35pm

Thanks for the opinions and the valid ideas on this article. Definitely moving forward, companies are going to have to come up with some kind of policy guiding their community/employees/culture on what and what is not acceptable. As far as doubling the accounts; I think there is a number of people who have 'pseudonym' accounts so they can separate fun from serious, with the hopes that the 'boss' doesn't go hunting. In the end, as well put by Denise, there will be no privacy from the corporate 'Big Brother' as they will have appropriate 'Sourcers' who can do the hunting/fact-checking for them. Happy 2012, ladies, and welcome to the future...

Comment by Daniel J Smith on January 6, 2012 at 10:32am

Shashank, The boxes at the bottom of the profile outline how much contact you wish, for example in my Linked In Profile I have left out searching for jobs; I will consult etc and probably help in opinion oriented work, This doesn't mean that I am looking for a new place to put the shingle. You can be as private or available as you want; just be aware that the good sourcers and recruiters will always find away to offer you a better position. Be ready when that door opens! Thanks for the comment and Have a #ff

Comment by Sandra McCartt on January 6, 2012 at 10:51am
There was a lot more to this deal than having the box checked. The articles I have read indicate that he also included some disparaging information about his employer within his profile. He contends that the information he included was available in their annual report so was not privileged. That would seem to be a valid reason for any employer to ask for the profile to be modified.
Comment by Sandra McCartt on January 6, 2012 at 10:59am
In the final analysis. If you want something to be private don't post it on the Internet, or put it in an email. There is no valid expectation of privacy once anything has been put in writing, posted, published or sent to another person.
Comment by Daniel J Smith on January 6, 2012 at 11:00am

Okay so we are on the same page. A Linked-In modification may have been asked for- we don't know, but did this company go over the profiles of its upper management to ensure they weren't including like information. As always I'm that 'good for the goose' type of guy. If anyone had problems with MY social media accounts; give me the opportunity to bring it in line and ensure that this policy is valid company wide. I feel more companies will delve into the 'Modification' den and assume they own even the personal thoughts of the employee. I include all successes to my profile with the okay of the organization I am with- as a courtesy, not because its demanded of me. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. Enjoy 2012! Daniel

Comment by Shashank Shekhar on January 6, 2012 at 11:08am

Thanks Daniel for your clarifying comments. I don't have an issue with how this specific incident turned out and whose fault it may have been. My gripe is not whether one has the ability to hide/show his status, intentions and opinions. What I want to say is that the way scouting for professionals has to be done on Linked In, requires the professionals to disclose their intentions on their public profile. Otherwise, they don't show up in recruiters' searches. What I am envisioning (and have almost finished developing) is an alternative system/site where the job change intentions can be private and yet the professionals will show up in job searches. That keeps the privacy of the professionals intact without compromising their ability be found by hiring managers.

Comment by Daniel J Smith on January 6, 2012 at 11:24am

Sandra, I fully agree and support your 2nd post. It falls under one of those life lessons which used to be known as 'Common Sense' Privacy is only that if you maintain your secrets by not posting them and trying to lock them behind a privacy setting. Have a terrific day.

Comment by Daniel J Smith on January 6, 2012 at 11:29am

Shashank, I'm sure I'm not alone in saying- There are ways. If a good opportunity was to come up and you were a prime candidate through the search process; I'm sure you could be found....Try googling yourself and see how much information is already out there. I've sent you an invitation to link up with me.


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