Too Much Information Or The New Resume?
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So it may seem from this blog that I all I've thought about or contemplated lately is golf.
That's not entirely true. Golf has just been my escape from work, and the U.S. Open was sort of the icing on the cake for recent weeks, particularly after how it ended up.
I will say I was extremely proud of the USGA and IBM teams who worked on the Web site. I don't know any of them, but I thought they did a remarkable job, particularly for our first year out as partners.
I, for one, being the golf junkie I am, leaned on the US Open site extensively to keep track of all the action and to see the media highlights.
So, whoever at IBM was on that team, I hope you're getting some sleep now, but know I thought you all rocked.
As for the world of business and technology, the news bits have been streaming out so quickly it's been very difficult for me to digest it all, a problem I'm sure many of you have.
What's going on out there, you might ask?
LinkedIn took a $53M round from Bain Capital, and The New York Times reports that round puts their valuation at $1B. The company will apparently use that investment to make acquisitions and expand its overseas operations.
The average age of a LinkedIn user is 41, the report goes on to say. I'm 41, and I'm a LinkedIn user, so there you go.
But they go on to report that I'm less likely to build my digital identity around dates, parties, and photos of revelry. If that's another way of saying I don't post pictures of myself trying to one-up a fraternity brother on the beer bong, that's true.
But it also doesn't mean I'm a stick in the mud, either.
There was actually a great story about the continuing merge between the personal and the professional in the University of Texas local newspaper yesterday, here in Austin.
Entitled "Beware the Facebook Gap," it seemed to suggest blowback by college students reacting to increased scrutiny of their social networking presence by companies' HR departments.
Author Dustin Stonecipher, a history major at UT, writes that "...When a business users CIA-like techniques to obtain often out of context and private information, it becomes unethical and borderline illegal."
Stonecipher points out that "Facebook is "our space. It is not a resume, a grade report or a page in an online applicant pool," and yet "energetic" employers have found ways around these safeguards.
And yet he also cites a U.S. News and World study that indicated 40 percent of employers said they would take into account an application's Facebook page during their hiring process.
Stonecipher also points out that increasingly the growing openness of the Internet is leading to violations of the Equal Opportunity Act, where snap judgments can be made because of the vast, various and sundry personal information being placed online.
I have advice for both sides of this social networking coin.
Students, for better or worse, remember that your private behavior is now increasingly publicly available. The old adage used to go that you ought not say it if you don't want it to end up on the front page of The New York Times.
Insert "Facebook" for "The New York Times" and you'll have caught up with the virtual Joneses.
While I agree that such behavior ought not be used for the purpose of any type of hiring discrimination, particularly before the candidate has a chance to tell their side of the story, it's probably better not to arm the hiring committee with evidence that can only do you harm.
Read: Use the Facebook privacy features to hide those pics of you after several hours at the toga party, or better yet, leave them off the Intertubes altogether.
Employers, many of you were in college once. Remember that period of your life? When you had little responsibility, all the time in the world, and no microvideo cameras following your every move?
And, many of you lived in a time when the economics of distribution were limited to flyers that could be placed around campus.
Imagine your forays into the finer nuances of tequila shots being examined by your own organization's HR staff via a Facebook newsfeed and you'll get a sense of what these students are up against.
Give graduating students a break, and I'm not talking about the spring kind.
One incident on Facebook does not a college career make.
If every single student were penalized for the single "D" or "F" they made during their college tenure, many productive citizens would never have gotten through the first round of interviews.
For those getting similar treatment because they joined the "Students for Ron Paul" group (or "insert your candidate here")...
....well, let's just say I'm just glad my report card never had a Facebook NewsFeed...or my Animal House-ish "Delta" fraternity its own Facebook group.
Unfortunately, in the so-called "real" world, there's no such thing as DOUBLE SECRET PROBATION.
If there were, I'd surely still be on it.