This week a brief Twitter debate about hiring practices sparked the idea for this post. One of the concepts I teach the companies I work with is the concept of the social company, and the ethics that go into becoming a truly social company. When you can use social media to find out anything about anyone, where do you draw the line?
One of my Twitter connections wanted to spark a discussion on unique hiring practices. His tweet about doing Spouse Interviews for new hires to find out about their personal lives happened to catch my eye, and I felt compelled to reply. Setting aside the legal ramifications of this practice, the ethical ramifications loom large to me. Everyone deserves to be able to separate work and life.
We’re in an age of dwindling privacy; of purposeful transparency and all of the ramifications of that lying under the surface as we march forward online playing our games, creating things, listening to music or watching movies, blogging, connecting to brands and people, and connecting to friends.
Even as I love the optimistic potential of the new technology landscape for health, connection, education, creativity and more, I am concerned with the divergence between that optimism and the positive ramifications of these technologies and the blurred ethical lines from people in positions of power. It’s not OK for an employer to require a Facebook password anymore than invading a potential employees life with a spousal interview is (and don’t get me started on the lack of understanding of the internet and these technologies in government that lead us to things like CISPA).
When hiring and looking to verify education, experience or other facts online, the same rules apply there as in the real world. It’s just that simple. This causes some interesting issues in an age where people can be careless with their privacy – posting public photos of their weekend warrior lifestyle or airing their private opinions in a way that becomes public (Facebook posts have led to several firings in recent years, and have become a common cause of divorces and other problems).
I’d love to hear from human resource managers, CEOs and others out there who are struggling with this new fire hose of information about potential employees at all levels. What kind of ethical decisions is this introducing into your company that you didn’t face before? Have you put policies in place to guide folks through this aspect of hiring in a tech age? Do you move forward assuming that if the person didn’t remember to set a privacy setting it “makes it ok” to use that info to make a decision? I’d love to get a dialogue going about this with you.
To spark your discussion, below is the conversation I had on Twitter that got my brain turning about this in more depth than just advising clients that professional social media sites like LinkedIn and professional blogs were great places for vetting employees but that personal social media sites are a touchier area.
Articles like the one written by a midwest blogger, Marilyn Hagerty, about Olive Garden and her down-to-earth response to “going viral”, serve to remind us that the United States (and other countries) are not yet 100% online. The parts of the US that are online are not all connected via broadband or FIOS. This means that a large number of folks still connect with the familiar dial-up modem sound we all grew up loving, or, if they are lucky, DSL. Heck, so many places still don’t even have good cell phone coverage for all of these mobile apps we push so hard (my mom, for example, still has to drive 2 miles down a rural SC driveway to get close enough to a cell tower signal to get 2 bars on her Verizon phone).
One of the things that rankles as a marketer in 2012 is the assumption that because you have access to something – technology, restaurants, shopping, money, infrastructure, education – others do also. Traditional marketing may be changing but not quite at the pace the social media bubble would like. Many people who can afford TV (don’t forget how many can’t) still watch TV live (though many now also live tweet shows with their friends). People who love music still experience concerts without a cell phone in hand for Instagram, Facebook/Fousquare check ins or Twitter commentary, choosing instead to enjoy the show itself. People in certain parts of the country still use phone books, read the paper and buy real books (I know! Shocker!).
Are those traditional media elements and traditional marketing tactics becoming less effective as that population shrinks? Yes. But that population is a bigger demographic than many think, and we do a disservice to those that aren’t as connected as we are to forget they exist or to choose to leave them behind (or, in the case of this reviewer, mock them).
We can also learn a lesson from people like our intrepid Olive Garden food reviewer (a writer for decades, by the way) – while the internet was busy harping on her having written a “serious” review about Olive Garden (I’d say “knowing her target audience” instead, folks – perspective) she was out living life: playing bridge and enjoying a full life outside of a computer box. Perhaps those marketers that are going to be most successful as we transition from one world to a new world are the ones who remember to also step into the big blue box outside their window once in a while to get real world connections and experiences that will broaden their scope.
Meanwhile, I loved the response from her son in the Wall Street Journal. A lovely and poignant look at his mom and her many talents.
As you get more and more people talking about you, and post regular content that is good and useful in your subject matter field, you’ll see your results improve.
If you are a brick and mortar business, also claim your Google Place and your Plus page in addition to creating channels for your business on sites like Yelp and Foursquare. People online who are in your area will be more likely to see active businesses that are close to them first. If their social graph (friends, family and coworkers) are talking about your business, then that result is more and more likely to be you.
Meanwhile, iPads and other tech in class enhances learning and brings the world to your students’ doorstep in school. I think that can only be a good thing.
There are so many red flags you can look for that don’t fit here, but in the end – do due diligence. Don’t buy a bill of goods. Educate folks in your community what to look for and what these things mean.
Lastly, never use “God”, “password”, “1234” or similar passwords. If you can’t use a service to generate a password, try using 4 random words strung together that have nothing to do with each other but that you can remember (thinkhorseoceanpurple for example) or mixing it up with symbols and numbers in your password. Your password should always be more than 6 letters long.
4) Use social searches on all channels to find jobs being posted there by keyword. Keyword #job is popular, also #workwednesday and #hirefriday
That’s just a few things you can start doing right now. You can also use it to check out possible new employers before you start work or interview to make sure it’s where you want to work (and remember, they can do the same back in most sites.)
Here are the questions I answered this morning (read from bottom up).
Tune in next week (and every Wednesday in February) to ask me your questions!
Thanks to everyone for joining us today and thanks to Leslie Poston for answering all the questions! You can read more about Leslie on the right side of this page and see where you can find her on the web.
by Kevin Clay/WMUR Staff 7:59 AM
I would recommend a crossover campaign for your church. So many churchgoers are active online it would be a shame to miss them (heck, many preachers are tweeting their sermons now), but church reaches an older demographic that isn’t online yet also so I wouldn’t abandon print altogether.
A cost effective ad campaign would be Google AdWords pushing folks to your church web site and Facebook page and adding a hashtag or other marketing tracking to print (use a different tracking code on the online ad) – that will help you start to see who finds you where and put the right amount of ad dollars to that spot.
Don’t forget to use Google Analytics on your site also to track who comes from which ad.
I wouldn’t recommend Facebook ads for you because of your budget (also, Google AdWords also allows geo targeting, and when used in conjunction with your Facebook Insights information can reach more people)
by Leslie Poston edited by Leslie Poston 7:57 AM
I run the website and Facebook page for my church. Our advertising budget is currently spent entirely on print advertisements in local newspapers. As a church, would we get more reach for our dollars by advertising on Facebook and other social media with geo-targeted ads, or is print still the best way to go for a local religious organization?
by April 7:53 AM
Facebook makes this a continued challenge by continually changing up the user experience and how they rank your posts. One thing to keep in mind while you seek more fans is that once you get them, you still only reach about 15% of your Facebook fans with your content on your wall because of how Facebook handles Edge Rank and how users can mute things in their newsfeed. That said, there are a few ways:
1) Good content, posted about once a day, + actually being there and talking to your fans
2) Facebook ads designed to drive users to your page (be careful, this can get expensive if you don’t watch the daily budget)
3) Contests and sweepstakes, although Facebook does NOT allow a contest expressly for the purpose of getting fans/likes – be sure you read the rules before starting one of these
4) Putting Facebook share buttons on your site and making sure you have a link back to your Facebook page there as well
There are many other ways but those are the simplest to implement quickly.
The number I’d pay attention to, more than how many fans you have, is how many are “talking about you” – much more significant.
Also, use your Insights to determine your demographic – it will help you decide what content to post that would be shareable – fans sharing your stuff is the best way to get new fans.
by Leslie Poston 7:52 AM
how do i get more fans on facebook for my business?
by dave 7:48 AM
There are two books out there right now on Google Plus that come to mind, a For Dummies book and ebook by Jesse Stay and one by Chris Brogan. I’m sure there are more on the way!
by Leslie Poston 7:42 AM
Any books or sites you would recommend on for using google +
by Sean O’Connell 7:41 AM
That sounds like something your company would need to set up for you for best results. If you use a traditional phone company land line and your company pays for the service you dial a code such as *72 to forward. If they don’t pay for the service, I’m not sure how you’d forward the phone. Companies out there like Ring Central claim to offer a paid solution for this problem, but again – it’s not free – and it isn’t something I personally have used so I can’t really recommend it. I’d talk with your company and tell them you need them to reactivate that service so you can better telecommute.
by Leslie Poston 7:40 AM
My company use to pay extra (didn’t state an amount) to be able to forward desk phones to cell phones but stopped doing this due to the extra money it costs. Not sure if it was part of the phone service or not but is there a free, safe application that will allow me to forward my desk phone to my cell phone? I work from home 3 days a week and have to check my desk phone voicemail though out the day.
by Kelly Crowley 7:37 AM
Since an iPad (and an iPod Touch) is not a phone, you need to grab an app like Skype to send texts (SMS). I know there are several out there to choose from but Skype I’ve used and it works well. You can also log in to your Google Voice account online and use that or download an app to access it as well.
by Leslie Poston 7:35 AM
Robert from Facebook: how do u text from an ipad?
by Kevin Clay/WMUR Staff 7:33 AM
For music you can create a playlist in iTunes and export it then upload that music playlist to your Fire legally. You can also do that for your photos in iPhoto.
Here is a discussion in the Amazon groups where people are working on that same question. The solutions they came up with might help you: www.amazon.com
by Leslie Poston 7:32 AM
Can I transfer itunes games and media to my Kindle Fire? Thanks!!
by Laurie 7:27 AM
LinkedIn is a business-focused network. I connect with everyone on LinkedIn who is not a spammer, even if I dont’ know them, as it broadens my network there and gets me into the business circles of people I would not otherwise meet. I check out their profile to see if I can discover why they’d want to connect – it is not uncommon for people to reach out on LinkedIn prior to reaching out offline to conduct business with me, for example, or to research my bio for a speaking gig. I make sure they have a photo and a complete history before clicking accept.
I do recommend protecting your contacts on LinkedIn if you want to try to optimize your LinkedIn experience by broadening your connections. Make it so that only you see who you are connected to. This handles the issue of folks who want to connect only to see who you know.
Also, please don’t feed your Twitter into LinkedIn (or Facebook) – it is way to noisy! People go to LinkedIn and Facebook for a different experience and reason than why they visit Twitter.
If you are a business – make a LinkedIn Company Page! Create and participate in a Group! LinkedIn has so much overlooked value for people as a business social network.
How they handle contacts is nice also – you can export them (meaning you keep your data). A great feature. You can also have a feed of your blog, your Slideshare slides and more – so connecting outside of people you know allows more people who might be able to do things for your business see you display your knowledge.
Find me there at linkedin.com/in/leslieposton
by Leslie Poston 7:26 AM
I get requests from people I do not know in my area wanting to connect on LinkedIn. My feeling is that I should only connect to people I know. I use the opportunity to connect to them by offering to meet them for coffee as a way we can get to know what each other does and the type of clients we are looking for. Your thoughts on connecting to people you do not know in LinkedIn?
by ktombs 7:20 AM
I do think Google Plus has staying power. Interestingly, I would have said that even before Google made sure of it recently by integrating Google Plus into search (at the bottom of your search results, notice how it says “Ask this on Google +” now) and started pushing toward layering your social data and use data across all of their tools like YouTube, Picasa, Search, Gmail, Docs, Plus and more. I also think it is key for business to have both a Google Plus and a Google Place page right now.
by Leslie Poston 7:20 AM
Do you think Google + has staying power?
by Hank edited by Kevin Clay/WMUR Staff 7:17 AM
There are hundreds of apps for the iPhone that come out daily, so I’m not sure it is possible to keep up with all of them. Some favorites on iPhone and Android are Evernote, Batchbook, LinkedIn, Hootsuite (productivity/business). If you want to get social Instagram and Foursquare are great ways to connect with folks, also on iPhone and Android. Skype and Google Plus are also good apps. Square is a great way to handle mobile payments via credit card. #techtalk
by Leslie Poston 7:17 AM
Any new APPS for the iPhone you can share?
by rap4143 7:12 AM
Jeff, I’m not sure what you want to aggregate? If you want to aggregate your posts out to various social networks you can use your RSS feeds and RSS reader. You can also use a site like FriendFeed or a tool like Yahoo Pipes to monitor your own posts in one place.
If you want to aggregate various social network accounts into one dashboard, you can use a tool like Hootsuite, Seesmic or Tweetdeck (there are many of these).
by Leslie Poston 7:05 AM
Jeff Savastano on Facebook asked: “I’m looking for an inexpensive social media aggregator tool. Can you recommend one?”
by Leslie Poston 7:04 AM
Read more (And join us next Wednesday at 7 AM Eastern to ask your questions at this link also)
Here are the questions I answered this morning (read from bottom up).
Tune in next week (and every Wednesday in February) to ask me your questions!
Any small business needs a website (a good one – please pay someone to make you a nice one), good content, and some social outposts that fit where their customers are – this may be Google Plus and Facebook for one business and Vimeo for another – do your research or ask someone like me at Magnitude Media for help with your strategy.
Have a schedule to make sure you update often once you get your social in place, and don’t forget to reply to the people who talk to you online. Do vanity searches and alerts for your business so you don’t miss chances to talk to people you might not follow yet.
Of bigger concern to me is how they have changed search. To get your old search results back (e.g. relevant search results), click the world icon at the top of the search page to turn off personal search, and then go into your Google Plus account and turn off the +1 results feature.
If that’s you, I’ll be on WMUR’s online Tech Talk as their “Ask an Expert” every Wednesday morning from 7AM – 8AM Eastern this month doing my best to help you out of your social tech jams. Note: my answers will feed out to my Magnitude Media business Twitter (not to @Leslie – that account is noisy enough already!).
Questions I will answer: social media, marketing and general business tips and questions about social media and emerging media issues and tools. Wondering what the heck Pinterest is or have questions about Google Plus? Want to know about tools to help filter the noise or what a good blogging platform is for SEO? Those are great questions.
Questions I won’t answer: questions about your specific company’s needs (one question doesn’t give me enough info to tell you what kind of strategy to use for your next marketing campaign, for example). You really need to consult me (or someone else) as a consultant for an in depth question or marketing strategy needs.
I can’t wait to help you!
There is a post this week, called to my attention by Chris Brogan, that illustrates so many things that are wrong for women who are online. Remember Kathy Sierra? I remember. I remember not liking then that she removed herself from online life in answer to the threats against her. I remember how badly I wanted her to stand and fight back.
Then I look, years later, at posts like this one at IttyBiz blog about being threatened and rethink that position. By asking women to stand and fight online are we putting our tech sisters in danger? I like that IttyBiz is both taking precautions and standing her ground, but the fact that this is ongoing, that bloggers like Queen of Spain and others get threatened for being visible, for having opinions that differ, for being successful, for just being women, galls me.
I am appalled at us as a culture that this is in any way “fine”. That more people won’t discuss this, and that many will poo-poo it.
I’ll have to think more about this issue and write a new post about ways I think we can tackle the problem, but for now – I wanted to help get the word out about the IzzyBiz situation, and I hope you share it also.