We’ve discussed online social networking peril here at length, but there is now a new wrinkle.
In addition to keeping work accounts and personal accounts straight, and taking great care not to mix “friending” with “businessing,” employees now must contend with the Social Intelligence Corporation.
What is the Social Intelligence Corporation (SIC) and its allied mission? Nothing short of supplying potential employers with a comprehensive report of what you’ve been doing through social networking (and anything else online): The good, the bad, and that which will get you screened from any hope of working for whatever company to which you’re applying.
As a year-old startup, SIC rakes social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, et al, even blogs, and presents anything suspect to the employing agent: Again, perhaps a company that is considering you for employment. You mail a resume, you get a call, you interview – and at some point in the process – perhaps even upon receipt of the resume – the company engages SIC and requests your online history.
It’s hard to know if SIC is sick, or just the next step in employers’ due diligence and arsenal of tools in arriving at best employees and staffs. It does seem a little sinister that employers, and SIC, are raking the relative party of social networking in assessing candidates. I mean, I wouldn’t have wanted potential employers at some of my house parties back in the day – ya know what I mean? We’ve already noted that employers have been using Google to look up names and online presence of potential employees. This takes it to a whole ‘nother level.
Consider the case of one person: They merely joined a Facebook group called “I shouldn’t have to press ‘1’ for English. We’re in the United States. Learn the language.” Apparently, the SIC’s software identified the individual as having “…other obvious racist leaning or proclivities” merely through association. Seems a bit heavy. And what of someone’s membership whereby they’re merely monitoring such a group?
Just recently, the Federal Trade Commission suspended an investigation of SIC, by virtue of the fact that it appears to comply, for now, with the Fair Credit Reporting Act: In this case, SIC must be certain that clients (companies, organizations) advise applicants when something deleterious turns up on a report, with subsequent negative impact to potential employment with that employer.
So… beware. We’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Stay safe out there.
NP: Hungaria, Bireli Lagrene
Back in the days of my misspent youth, as CIO in a Fortune100 environment, one of my more favored positions was leading IT for a “perception management” company.
Perception Management was this firm’s rebranding and widening of the established Public Relations schema. I rather enjoyed it and found it quite interesting.
Perception Management is extraordinarily important in this age of social networking: Both in terms of personal SN and business: Many businesses, particularly small and medium business (SMB) are utilizing SN because it is efficient, inexpensive, and readily available – easy access; easy setup.
We discussed a particular case of personal peril a couple posts ago, and – if you scroll through the history of this blog – a fair number of other SN perils and outcomes… essentially involving people saying embarrassing things about themselves or others, and being outed for it.
But now there are perils involving livelihoods and professional standing.
Courts personnel, lawyers, and other associates are now perusing jury pools’ members for biases or relationships that may taint and jeopardize the outcome of trials. In some cases, attorneys have found actual relationships between seated jurors and defendants on trial! This is solid grounds for dismissal and retrial – and that has happened.
Further, reviews of SN pages by folks with legal standing have uncovered information about illegal activities – sometimes resulting in arrest and prison.
But of perhaps a more mundane concern to the professional readership here: Hiring authorities are now perusing SN sites, simply taking names from resumes and Googling, Facebooking, and YouTubing around, and seeing what comes up. And often, what comes up is… well, interesting.
You can certainly glean an assessment for someone’s maturity, their gravitas, and likely their overall suitability for any specific job from their SN postings, their friendships, their hobbies, and whatever else occupies their time and fancy. And do you know what? There ain’t a thing you can do about it. Should you be screened from a job for something a potential employer saw online – you’d never know.
You could even be competing for a promotion at a present place of employment; it will become increasingly likely that HR and the manager up the line will review your online standing and presence along with internal performance reviews and documentation.
For the aforementioned SMB: If you are using the ready-network of SN – with its undeniable enablement of business – ensure your folks are not blending “friending” with “businessing.” That is, bleeding the jocularity and questionable taste of interactions between friends, and bringing that informality to the realm of business. It’s easy enough to do when switching back and forth.
Perception Management: Manage how you want to be perceived. More importantly, be the person you want to be understood as being.
Make certain your business adheres to proper protocols and styles of communication too. Survey what is being done in the name of your domain.
Have that accurately reflected in all that you do online – in controlling perceptions.
March 31st: On this day in 1963, Los Angeles ended streetcar service after 90 years.