Tuesday, September 22, 2009

How (Not) To Use Social Networking

I admit it. I love blogging. Even though I often feel I have little or nothing of interest to say, it's a healthy outlet for my random thoughts. However, I hate Facebook. And since the thing I hate most about Facebook is the constant itty-bitty items on the status...I've assumed I would detest Twitter. I feel the need to at least try for a story - with a beginning, middle (hopefully a story arc) and an end. Typing, "I'm baking cookies but I'm out of eggs!" is not worth the time I took to type it and certainly not worth your time to read it. Also (and I've said this before) if one more person sent me a virtual anything (snowball, plant, cocktail, etc) I was going to lose it.

Since I'm in the communications and marketing field, I see tons of articles about how to use social networking tools like a blog, twitter, facebook, linked-in, etc. to further your company's (or your own professional) goals. So far, we've tried to make use of some of these tools...putting together a little blog on our public site from people who are working internationally (promoting our new "global" reach), another little blog about a series of workshops and its findings to share with participants and clients at large, maybe a few e-newsletters, etc. Some staff have indicated an interest in having a blog for our intranet, but since no one is stepping up to manage it or moderate it...it ain't happening. So to date, we really haven't found a way to efficiently and effectively use social networking as a tool.

Right now, social networking is much more of a distraction at work than a communications device. It seems whenever I walk the floor I find people on facebook, blogger, or playing that bejeweled game (you know who you are...) And in fact, when I'm particularly frustrated or roadblocked with something, I've been known to jump on blogger too and read a few sites, type up a quick post...none of which is helping me get out of work any earlier.

Because not everyone understands how social networking actually functions, we have had some interesting pops on our Google alerts. Just recently, a senior manager in the firm we have merged with, decided to TWEET:

{COMPANY} COI [conflict of interest] is driving me crazy.

Since it was our company name in the tweet, Google Alert picked it up and delivered it to our PR person. Scanning down the other Tweets put out by this person she discovered derogatory comments about our clients and the regulatory agency too.

Can you say clueless?

When confronted about this (which we actually had to force the issue on since the company we merged with doesn't have a social networking policy) he was rightly mortified as he thought the tweets only went out to his immediate contacts.

If there is one thing I've learned, it's that there is no real anonymity on the internet. Another reason I hated Facebook is I joined with my full, real name. I mean I was hoping to find some long lost friends, so why use some pseudo-name. But because I linked it to my gmail account that is also linked to this blog, suddenly people were friending me and saying, "Hey - you must be Wenderina..."


So people, please. When you blog, when you tweet, when you facebook, when you Link-In...know that everyone knows what you are saying. My HR department now does a full search of these sites with every resume they consider before the interview. If you've got a picture of you drunkenly peeing in the parking lot of your favorite bar...they'll see it. If you've lambasted your boss and co-workers in a blog, they'll probably find it. If your status reads, "{Company} called me for an interview - they suck but I need the job" they'll know it.

Get a clue. Or get a disclaimer.

Wenderina is a totally fictional character. She does not work for {Company} nor does she reside anywhere near Suffern NY. Any resemblance of Wenderina or her stories herein to any character, real or fictitious, is strictly coincidental. And don't sue her. She ain't worth squat.


JeannetteLS said...

It's the quizzes... How do people have time to take these quizzes about which star they would like to be if they were a contestant on a reality show that was made into a television series for Animal Planet? Seriously.

And I have never been able to say something of substance in 140 characters... I'm always having to create abbreviations and then forget what I meant in the first place. BLESS you. You must be that woman who stopped email and no one heard from again...

Erin Alberty said...

The applications are out of control. Just as an experiment, I took the “What Jane Austen Character are you” quiz multiple times with different answers, and I kept getting Elizabeth Bennett. It’s like they didn’t want to hurt your feelings by giving you anyone else. I just wanted to be Mr. Palmer from Sense and Sensibility, or maybe Elizabeth Bennett’s dad. They are funny.

A's Mom said...

Pretty scary sometimes how technology has taken over. I agree with the Facebook part, too.