About a year ago I posted Protect Your Reputation In The Workplace - and that post has been very popular but having re-read the post just recently, I realized that it doesn’t go far enough. There is more to your reputation in the workplace than e-mail and voice mails, your actions speak volumes about you as does your attire and even offline activities.
We’ve seen in recent years where hiring agencies and small and large national and multi-national companies do make use of sophisticated searches of social media to find out about prospective employees. I have no doubt that people find my site by searching for my name (in fact I know that as a fact, because my server logs tell me as much). Some of the pages that come up are about me, written by me and some are cousins that share the same name but there are also others that are not related to me in anyway including one who is 64 years old.
So while your online persona may appear everywhere, it may not necessarily be you – that unfortunately doesn’t work when it comes to things like Facebook and other social sites where you have the ability to post images. There have been many stories in the media about people getting caught through simple searches in Google and having their Facebook page pop-up showing them in the act. Most social sites time and date stamp EVERYTHING you do and now with many services automatically turning on location services, if you post an update to your Facebook page you could very well reveal where you made that update. Claimed to be at the doctor on Friday afternoon? But your Facebook page has you at ??? at that time. Busted.
Here are a couple of fairly recent media reports of individuals being caught through Facebook updates, or other social media updates – these are ALL direct links (I don’t want any DMCA Takedown Notices or anyone claiming copyright or other bad stuff…):
- Mafia Boss Betrayed By Facebook
- Busted: Facebook Party Pics Violate Student’s Parole
- Mom busted in Facebook ‘high’ jinks - IMO – this person probably deserved getting busted for what they did
- Busted: Facebook fugitive who taunted police
- Zuckerbandits? Alleged ‘Facebook’ burglars busted
- Fugitive busted through Facebook pleads guilty
- Call centre worker caught out by boss after posting ‘sickie’ plan on ‘Facebook’
These are only a few that I found through a simple search – there were dozens more. Now I would hope that the people reading the posts here are more tech savvy to:
- NOT do stupid shenanigans and post “innocently” (right) on Facebook or other social networks.
- CARE about their careers and future potential.
- HAVE much higher moral, and ethical standards than these folks did (I’m sure YOU do).
There is also a lot of discussion going on in professional circles whether it is appropriate to look at Facebook or other social media sites in determining whether a candiate is a good fit or not. Unfortunately it all comes down to past behavior being a good predicitor of future actions. It is very difficult for people to reform themselves and break habits. I regularly see posts on LinkedIn about this topic in various sections including Career and HR groups.
The fact of the matter is employers can, will and probably do search you out before they decide to hire you (though most may not admit to it). I don’t know of any cases in the courts in the US or Canada fighting employers looking for this type of information, however if you know of any please leave a comment on this post so that I can research it.
Now I’m only making note of Facebook because they are the worlds largest social network, I’m sure others have been caught or found-out through other social networks like MySpace, or even Twitter or through images uploaded to Flickr.
As a note I don’t know if most people know this or not but by default when you take a picture with your digital camera, the camera stores the date/time the image was taken along with other technical details. When you upload the photo to sites like Flickr this information goes with it and can be seen by others that know how to find it. Some newer digital cameras and smartphones are also starting to add location information to the images – that’s GPS INFORMATION OF WHERE THE PICTURE WAS TAKEN!
What you do online can be just as damaging as what you do offline, especially “today” when everyone feels compelled to tell the world what they are up to – more proof of this – someone I know recently had a baby and posted pictures within hours of the birth - nothing wrong with that, but we’re ALL fixated by social networks and media.
Not only can some information you share be potentially damaging to your career but it could give identity thieves an insight into you and your movements making it easier to steal your identity or find out where you live and steal your property.
There is quite a bit more information available about social networking and reputation now, then there was only a year ago. I’ve provided direct links to some of this information. But you can get started easily by checking on Google (search is ready to go, just click the link and it will open in a new window – I am in those 350,000 plus references).
- Social Networking And Reputational Risk In The Workplace
- Blog Post by Michael Specht on Social networking and reputational risk in the workplace (referencing the Deloitte 2009 study)
- Some excellent information at PitbLAWg website (Online Reputation Management – NOTE this is a Canadian law firm)
What it comes down to is to focus on what YOU can do to enjoy using social media but at the same time be aware of what you are posting online. While you may say that your online persona is not “you” the experts will differ, and until something is challenged in court labor laws will not change and employers will continue using the internet to find out more about prospective candidate and could well look at existing employees.
Your reputation goes beyond what you do in the office, what you do outside of the office will also play some role.
Be wise. Guard your reputation, I know that I do.
Something that I’ve always missed is having gone to University. I did go to college (Business Administration with major in Accounting, and Computer Systems Technlogy [Software Development/Design/Analysis/Project Management]), and have done well for myself so really can’t complain. Something that I’d wanted to do was an MBA, so spent some time investigating and found out that in order to get into many of the programs out there I would need a University education.
That’s not happening anytime soon.
But then I found a site called The Personal MBA and was hooked.
The basic philosophy about an MBA (or The Personal MBA) is this:
The Personal MBA (PMBA) is a project designed to help you educate yourself about advanced business concepts. This manifesto will show you how to substantially increase your knowledge of business on your own time and with little cost, all without setting foot inside a classroom.
The PMBA is more flexible than a traditional MBA program, doesn’t involve going into massive debt, and won’t interrupt your income stream for two years. Just pick up one of these business books, learn as much as you can, discuss what you learn with others, then go out into the real world and make great things happen.
If you’re interested in educating yourself about business, the Personal MBA is the best place to start.
About a week ago I received an e-mail from Josh Kaufman (owner of the site) about a book called Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business. It’s going to be released on December 30, 2010 through Amazon and is also available in a Kindle edition – I’ve pre-purchased the Kindle version for my iPad.
The Personal MBA is real, and offers excellent advice and information. Josh argues that you can get a real-world education reading the 99 books he recommends on The Personal MBA manifesto. In fact you should read his “About” page to see the accolades he’s received from such institutions as Business Week, Seth Godin, Life Hacker and other mainstream media organizations.
The books that are recommended are good, and I have purchased several which do teach solid business skills that can be applied.
Getting an MBA is an expensive choice – one almost impossible to justify even in a good economy. Even the elite schools like Harvard and Wharton offer outdated, assembly-line programs that teach you more about PowerPoint presentations and unnecessary financial formulae than what it takes to improve a real business. You can get better results (and save hundreds of thousands of dollars) by skipping business school altogether.
Josh Kaufman founded PersonalMBA.com as an alternative to the business school boondoggle. His blog has introduced hundreds of thousands of readers to the best business books and most powerful business concepts of all time. Now, he shares the essentials of entrepreneurship, marketing, sales, negotiation, operations, productivity, systems design, and much more, in one comprehensive volume. The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business distills the most valuable business lessons into simple, memorable mental models that can be applied to any challenge.
Master the Fundamentals, Hone Your Business Instincts, and Save a Fortune in Tuition
Understanding the fundamental principles of business will give you essential tools you can rely on to make good business decisions. If you learn these critically important concepts, you’ll be in the top 1% of the human population when it comes to knowing:
- How businesses actually work.
- How to start a new business.
- How to improve an existing business, whether it’s a solo venture or Fortune 50.
- How to use business-related skills to accomplish your personal goals.
The Personal MBA explains concepts such as:
- The Iron Law of the Market: Why every business is limited by the size and quality of the market it attempts to serve—and how to find hungry markets just waiting to be served.
- The 12 Forms of Value: There’s more to business than products and services. There are actually twelve ways to create value for your customers, and the most successful businesses combine several.
- The Pricing Uncertainty Principle: All prices are malleable. Raising your prices is the best way to dramatically increase your business’ profitability – if you know how to support the price you’re asking.
- 4 Methods to Increase Revenue: There are only four ways for a business to bring in more money. Do you know what they are?
True leaders aren’t made by business schools—they make themselves, seeking out the knowledge, skills, and experience they need to succeed. Read this book, and you will learn the principles it takes most business professionals a lifetime of trial and error to master.
I’m really looking forward to his book. You can pre-order it right now on Amazon.
Here are some selected quotes about The Personal MBA:
What Business Leaders Think About The Personal MBA…
“No matter what they tell you, an MBA is not essential for landing or handling a good business job. If you combine reading this book with actually trying stuff, you’ll be far ahead in the business game.” – Kevin Kelly, founding executive editor of Wired magazine and author of What Technology Wants
“Fundamentals are fundamentals. Whether you’re an entrepreneur or an executive at a Fortune 50 company, this book will help you succeed.” – John Mang, Vice President of Japan Fabric & Home Care, Procter & Gamble
“This book goes far beyond business: I used the marketing, sales, and communication principles in this book to complete my PhD and land a highly-competitive postdoc and professorship at a world-class research university. Whatever you do for a living, this book will help you do it even better.” – Dr. Zachary Gagnon, Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering, Johns Hopkins University
Here’s what Publisher’s Weekly has to say about The Personal MBA
Kaufman, a former middle manager at Proctor & Gamble and founder of personalmba.com, argues that those interested in business would be better served by skipping the M.B.A. and focusing on the critically important concepts that really make or break a business. According to the author, much of what is taught in business schools is outdated; you’re better off saving the expense and finding other ways to learn about these core principles–which Kaufman synthesizes–in such areas as value creation, marketing, sales, and finance. He also explores the psychological side of business and examines how consumers take in information, make decisions, and decide what to do or not to do. Acknowledging the panoramic overview his approach necessitates, he includes a fairly lengthy list of sources to seek out if more information is needed. While Kaufman’s rallying call will not eradicate the need or desire for M.B.A. degrees, he does provide a surprisingly solid alternative full of information that even those already in the workplace will respond to. (Dec.)
I’m really looking forward to his book. You can pre-order it right now on Amazon.
I’ve used a BB 8320 for over 2-years for work. It was a great phone, but for several months had been giving me a lot of problems. It would restart automatically, all the time – ANYTIME. I would be in the middle of a call with my boss, with customers, with Sales VP, our General Counsel – whomever and it would restart. I couldn’t open e-mails no matter what, the hourglass would display on the screen and within 30 minutes the battery would be dead so it always seemed to be charging.
I don’t know what the 8320 was doing.
It was restored several times by our IT team but no luck. It was dead.
A new BlackBerry Torch was ordered for me, and I finally received it about a month ago. I was pretty excited about it, but mind you I had been comparing what I was going to get to the Apple iPhone (and it’s less endowed cousin, the iPod Touch). So my hopes were pretty high for a slick interface, highly responsive touch screen, awesome virtual keyboard and RIMs version of the App Store.
IT came into my office and plunked the box down.
I opened it up.
Shiny. Smells like a new phone. Shiny.
First thing, the Torch is a slider. I wasn’t fazed by it, I don’t mind sliders. It is also heavier than the 8320, when I first picked it up you could feel the difference. The 8320 felt like a cheap calculator whereas the Torch had “meat” behind it! I’m used to the Torch now, so the weight isn’t an issue any longer.
The Torch has a 5.0 MP camera which is actually pretty nice. I’ve taken quite a few pictures with it, then downloaded it to my PC and the quality is not bad. I don’t take many movies with it. To supplement the 4gb onboard memory, RIM has included a 4gb memory card so images can be stored on the card which makes it easy to transfer to a PC.
Sound quality is the same as any other phone.
Beep-beep-beep – my first e-mail.
Lets see how good (or bad) the touch screen really is… it’s not very well suited to big fingers, but I don’t hold that against RIM because even the iPhone isn’t. Bring up the e-mail, and hit REPLY and start typing with the virtual keyboard.
The virtual keyboard sucks.
Hitting letters dead on seemed to hit the letter beside it. So I’d press A and S would show up. I would have to hit the letters slightly to the left for it to pick up the correct letter. I figured that this could be fixed by performing a screen calibration but could not locate such an option! Apparently I’m not the only one with this issue as there is a thread on the BlackBerry support forums with several people making the same complaint of there not being a screen calibration option.
Here is one of the complaints about the virtual keyboard which relates to the screen calibration:
Having the exact same problem, device only a week old and didn’t do anything bad to it. Texting is the worst, press 1 key and 2 light up, when I press backspace to correct, the A-key lights up. Also issues in other apps as well. Touch screen is messed big time. Battery pulls and reload OS did nothing, still acting wonky. Called Rogers and they are mailing me a new Torch, so fingers crossed.
Other than this annoyance which means I don’t and can’t use the virtual keyboard the phone is nice.
It is NOT an iPhone and perhaps had I never played with an iPhone or iPod Touch my expectations would not be as high for any touch screen device. While a lot of people complain about the closed system Apple is with respect to their products, their touch UI is really nice.
Overall I’m pretty happy with the BlackBerry Torch, I know that I will get several years of good solid use from it and combined with my iPad (see my previous post Internet Stick & Laptop or iPad with 3G).