The Business-Technology Weave

Jun 25 2011   8:11AM GMT

Social Intelligence

David Scott David Scott Profile: David Scott


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


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